Uber is back, ready to return to Edmonton’s roads in time for Canada Day. The service was due to launch at midnight after the province changed its regulations for drivers, while working with the insurance industry to create a ride share option for driver and vehicle coverage.
However Uber general manager Ramit Kar isn’t completely happy about the situation that requires drivers to have a class four operating licence. “We’ve had hundreds of drivers that already had a class one, two or four that have said, ‘hey we want to be back on the road. We’ll do that.’ So there’s that,” Kar told reporters in the Uber office ahead of an anticipated return of drivers to go over paper work.
“There’s also been several hundreds of drivers who’ve said ‘we currently have a class five but we want Uber to be back and we’re willing to go through the steps to make sure that can happen.'”
“It does create higher barriers for drivers to come on the platform. The licencing requirements, like class four — having some one go through a two or three week process definitely creates more barriers than we think is necessary. Having said that, it’s not a perfect solution, we want as many Albertans to have access to this so that is why we’re going to continue to make sure the province can hopefully make changes in the future.”
Kar said Uber plans on creating an incentive program to help attract more drivers.
“We’ve put forward several different types of incentives where if they were past drivers before, for example, and they’ve done lots of trips, we might help with that cause. There are some drivers out there who’d be new to the platform, and they’d see this as a great opportunity. We would set up some sort of incentive so that they could get some of that cost back.”
Kar said Uber will continue to fight the regulations in talks with the province.
On Tuesday transportation minister Brian Mason announced that new rules take effect July 1, that would force a driver to obtain a class four licence. With it there would be a test that depending on the agency would cost a driver anywhere from $150 to $200. Drivers must pass a police records check, which is set a a higher standard than a criminal records check. It would highlight charges and outstanding warrants.