Calgary, AB,

City seeks temporary halt to private for-hire vehicles

The Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta has agreed to hear The City of Calgary's application for an injunction to temporarily stop drivers of private for-hire vehicles who use the Uber app offering rides for a fee.

The City is seeking to temporarily halt the activity until safety, insurance and regulatory requirements are met. A hearing is scheduled in Court of Queen’s Bench on November 20.

The City filed an application to stop drivers using the Uber mobile app who are in breach of the Livery Transport Bylaw. A total of 57 people were named in the application as a driver or registered owner of a private vehicle offering rides for a fee.

"We have been contacted by a number of individuals who have voluntarily agreed to stop driving for Uber,” said City Lawyer Colleen Sinclair. “We are pleased these individuals have agreed to stop offering a service that is potentially unsafe and is in breach of the Livery Transport Bylaw. This is a positive move toward helping ensure public safety.”

The City continues to inform drivers, passengers and the general public about risks  involved in private for-hire vehicle services. The Government of Alberta has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to themselves and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have adequate or appropriate insurance. Additional risks relate to the level of vehicle inspections on private for-hire vehicles and the level of training and security checks drivers undergo.

The Court agreed with legal Counsel representing most of the people named in The City’s application to temporarily seal portions of court documents that contain personal information of the 57 individuals. The City agreed with the request.

The Taxi and Limousine Advisory Committee (TLAC) reviewed options on November 10 to address transportation choices for Calgarians and potentially create a regulatory environment allowing for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber. The committee unanimously recommended Council proceed with a hybrid Open/Controlled entry system, meaning TNCs could operate if they meet a number of conditions, including having proper vehicle insurance, the driver having a driver's licence acceptable to the Province (for example, a class 4 licence) and passing a criminal background check.

Council will discuss options and TLAC’s recommendation Monday.