Despite many angry protests from taxi drivers in various places around the world, and an effort to crack down on ride-sharing from authorities, usage and support for Uber continues to grow. Dozens of protests have been launched against the ride-sharing company in a number of countries, but that hasn't seemed to slowdown the popularity of the service. Some areas in Canada have continued to explore a means to embrace the ride-sharing in a regulated manner, while other jurisdictions have sought to establish sting operations and crack down on drivers.
A recent Forum Research Poll found that an increasing number of Canadians are using Uber and in support of the ride-sharing service. The poll of roughly 846 found that 30 per cent had used the ride-sharing service and 42 per cent are in strong support of Uber. The 30 per cent response is an increase from a previous poll which found that the same number was around 28 per cent in December last year. “Ridership is still growing, and more voters take Uber's side than the cabbies' side in this ongoing dispute,” according to Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.
The rise in popularity of Uber is also prompting Canadian insurance companies to consider introducing insurance coverage for drivers who are carrying paying passengers in their vehicles. Last year, Uber announced with Intact Financial that they were going to be working together in order to introduce an insurance plan that was exclusively designed for the ride-sharing industry. It is estimated that there are roughly 16,000 ride-sharing drivers within the Greater Toronto area alone.
But not everyone is happy about the success of Uber. There remain many disgruntled taxi drivers who don't like the competition and there are a number of areas still scrambling to establish the necessary guidelines in order to allow these sorts of voluntary ride-sharing exchanges to occur. The manager for Uber in Alberta has just this week threatened that the ride-sharing service will cease operating in the province, unless the provincial government there agrees to make insurance and licensing changes. Although the rules vary depending on the area, drivers in Calgary for example, are being forced to obtain a commercial driving license with a $220 yearly fee. Not only that, but they also have to make sure they get regular inspections for their vehicle, a police background check, and must be able to prove that they are eligible to work in Canada.
A number of Uber drivers commented on the rally in Edmonton, saying that the service there affords them jobs and provides users with safe methods of transportation. They reject the idea that they should have to get a commercial license for driving and they argue that Uber ride-sharing is no different than carpooling.
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