As soon as tomorrow, Uber patrons could be staring at the harsh reality of returning to the world of yellow cabs and public transportation. That is, if the absurdly popular ride-sharing app’s executives don’t get their way.
According to The Globe and Mail, Uber GM Ramit Kar took to the steps of the Alberta legislature this weekend to rally supporters in opposition of a change to Edmonton’s bylaws that would require Uber drivers to procure commercial driver’s licenses and other increased documentation. These regulations don’t make sense for Uber drivers, the company says, since riding in an Uber is essentially the same as carpooling with a friend.
But the city and its embattled taxi drivers vehemently disagree, in particular citing concern for passengers in the event of an accident or emergency. The Class 4 commercial licenses proscribed by the bylaws would be issued only to drivers with provincially-vetted insurance and city-inspected vehicles. Perhaps most importantly in light of the tragic shootings in Michigan, background checks performed by local police would also be mandatory.
While those measures may go a long way to appeasing riders, they’re unlikely to inspire taxi companies to bury the hatchet with ride-sharing apps anytime soon. The bitter clash between old and new has led to protests and strikes around the world, some of which quickly turned to violence.
“We hope to continue to see you on the road,” Kar said to allied supporters, and regardless of what happens on Tuesday, they probably will, sooner or later.