In response to the rapid expansion of the Uber ride-sharing service, two Calgary taxi companies have joined forces with a number of others in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to turn public opinion.
Uber is a San Francisco ride-sharing service. It uses a smartphone app to connect drivers with passengers. The customer uses the app to request a ride – he or she can track the reserved car’s location. The service, which is valued at more than $15 billion, is available in 45 nations and over 100 cities globally.
Two Calgary taxi firms, Checker Yellow Cabs and Associated Cab have joined the Canadian Taxicab Companies group, which has set up Taxi Truths, a website aimed at educating people about the difference between a regulated taxi business and Uber-like ride-sharing services.
Although Uber is the biggest threat to the taxi business, the Canadian Taxicab Companies group says it is targeting all ride-sharing services.
CBC News quotes President of Checker Yellow Cabs, Kurt Enders, who said “It’s (the website is) aimed at all unregulated operators that want to enter the marketplace.”
The website “Taxi Truths” aims to educate Canadians about the benefits of using registered taxi services.
Mr. Enders added “If they want to come in, we’ve been operating under a regulated industry. I guess the question is … why won’t they come in and follow the same rules and regulations that we currently follow today?”
Uber has not yet arrived in Calgary. There was a weekend trial in 2013. However, the company has said its UberBlack sedan service would be ideal for the city. It has placed Facebook ads in its quest for drivers for its more controversial UberX service, one that uses normal everyman cars to transport passengers.
In an open letter to Canadians, taxi drivers across seven cities write:
“When you get into a Canadian taxi you expect a safe ride and to be sure that you’re in the hands of a trained, professional driver who is adequately insured and who will charge you a fair price. But how can you be sure?”
“This is why, for the first time ever, Canada’s taxicab companies have joined forces as the unified voice of the nation’s regulated taxi industry. Representing taxi owners in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the Canadian Taxicab Operators group believes strongly that only a regulated taxi industry can provide the safe, secure service that individuals and communities expect, and we are launching a national campaign to bring that message to you.”