Ride-sharing service Uber moving into Red Deer

Service to launch on Sept. 8 in the city

In a little more than two weeks, ride-sharing service Uber will take to Red Deer streets.

But Mitch Montgomery, an Associated Cab dispatcher, is “not afraid.”

In an email obtained by the Advocate, Uber has two information sessions scheduled for Thursday that will help interested drivers complete their profile. The company is targeting a Sept. 8 launch.

An Uber spokesperson said in an email that the company was “eager to come offer the benefits of ride-sharing to Red Deer in the near future.”

Erin Stuart, Red Deer inspections and licensing manager, confirmed Uber was coming to Red Deer in early September.

Montgomery said the service that taxi drivers provide is better than Uber.

“Our customers know their cab drivers, they don’t have to be afraid that it’s just somebody down the street who signed up and has a nice car,” said Montgomery.

He also said the fact taxi drivers are licensed and regulated by the city makes them more accountable to their local customers.

Under current law Uber would not be regulated by the city’s existing bylaws and are required to meet provincial regulations.

At the July 24 city council meeting, council directed administration to work with Central Alberta municipalities to update or develop bylaws that regulate vehicles for hire, including Uber.

Stuart said an online survey on the new bylaw will go online Wednesday.

“We’re trying to get citizens’ input into the vehicles-for-hire regulations and understand what their transportation needs are,” said Stuart.

The two information sessions are scheduled for Thursday, with one running from 6 to 7 p.m. and the other running from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Red Deer Sheraton, 3310 50th Ave.

There were two earlier information sessions held on Aug. 17.

Uber is a ride-sharing service that connects drivers and customers through an app. Uber does screen its drivers and applicants are required to submit their driver’s licence, three-year driver abstract, proof of work eligibility and vehicle insurance.

Uber representatives met with Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer, city manager Craig Curtis and officials from the local taxi industry in March 2016.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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