Hamilton calls on Uber for talks

News Dec 10, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 Hamilton politicians want to have a talk with Uber representatives, the online rideshare service, before  the controversial service decides to make the city home.

Councillors approved a motion Dec. 11 at the general issues committee meeting, introduced by Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla  for city officials to discuss “the feasibility” of an Uber service in Hamilton.

Merulla said it’s vital to have “a plan of action”  before Uber decides to move into Hamilton.

“It’s important to be ahead of the issue,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a knee-jerk reaction.”

Politicians will vote on the recommendation at their Dec. 17 council meeting.

Uber, introduced in 2010 inSan Francisco, uses a smart phone application to receive ride requests, and then sends them to their drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.

The service is available in about 52 countries, including the United States, Germany, India, France and England,  and over 200 cities., including Ottawa, Montreal, Denver, and Boston.

The company has been valued at about $40 billion because of such high-profile investors as Google Venture and Goldman Sachs.

But Uber has also been the subject of legal action by someUnited Statescities to prevent it from operating in their areas, and fierce opposition inEurope. There have been on-going protests from taxi drivers, and taxi companies that believe ride sharing companies are illegal taxicab operations that engage in unfair business practices.

The company has been banned inSpain, and two cities in India have prohibited it. InIndia an Uber driver is being accused of attacking women.

The Hamilton-based Ontario Taxi Union president Mahmud Ali Naimpoor said in a brief interview his union wants politicians to keep Uber out of Hamilton. He said their union has a lot of members who would be affected.

Union organizations in Ottawa, Montreal andVancouver have strongly opposed the rideshare service. InToronto, city officials are seeking legal action to prohibit the service from operating.

Unions are also backing Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser’s private member’s bill called the Passenger Safety Act that would impose fines of up to $30,000 for operating without a license.

The Canadian Competition Bureau, though, has endorsed Uber, saying the “digital dispatch services offer an innovative and convenient alternative to traditional method of arranging urban transit …”  

Merulla, who has been chair of the city’s licensing committee,  said Uber officials need to understand if it does provide a service in Hamilton, it needs to comply with the city’s stringent regulations on driver training, licensing and revenue.

“We have hundreds of taxi drivers and brokers (who follow) the rules,” he said.

Mayor Fed Eisenberger supported the motion, saying Uber is “sweeping” the globe andHamiltonbetter get ready to deal with the issues if the company arrives in the city.

“Whether we like it or not, we need to get ahead,” he said. “It’s not about wanting Uber (in Hamilton), it’s about the need to understand.”

 

Hamilton calls on Uber for talks

News Dec 10, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 Hamilton politicians want to have a talk with Uber representatives, the online rideshare service, before  the controversial service decides to make the city home.

Councillors approved a motion Dec. 11 at the general issues committee meeting, introduced by Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla  for city officials to discuss “the feasibility” of an Uber service in Hamilton.

Merulla said it’s vital to have “a plan of action”  before Uber decides to move into Hamilton.

“It’s important to be ahead of the issue,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a knee-jerk reaction.”

Politicians will vote on the recommendation at their Dec. 17 council meeting.

Uber, introduced in 2010 inSan Francisco, uses a smart phone application to receive ride requests, and then sends them to their drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.

The service is available in about 52 countries, including the United States, Germany, India, France and England,  and over 200 cities., including Ottawa, Montreal, Denver, and Boston.

The company has been valued at about $40 billion because of such high-profile investors as Google Venture and Goldman Sachs.

But Uber has also been the subject of legal action by someUnited Statescities to prevent it from operating in their areas, and fierce opposition inEurope. There have been on-going protests from taxi drivers, and taxi companies that believe ride sharing companies are illegal taxicab operations that engage in unfair business practices.

The company has been banned inSpain, and two cities in India have prohibited it. InIndia an Uber driver is being accused of attacking women.

The Hamilton-based Ontario Taxi Union president Mahmud Ali Naimpoor said in a brief interview his union wants politicians to keep Uber out of Hamilton. He said their union has a lot of members who would be affected.

Union organizations in Ottawa, Montreal andVancouver have strongly opposed the rideshare service. InToronto, city officials are seeking legal action to prohibit the service from operating.

Unions are also backing Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser’s private member’s bill called the Passenger Safety Act that would impose fines of up to $30,000 for operating without a license.

The Canadian Competition Bureau, though, has endorsed Uber, saying the “digital dispatch services offer an innovative and convenient alternative to traditional method of arranging urban transit …”  

Merulla, who has been chair of the city’s licensing committee,  said Uber officials need to understand if it does provide a service in Hamilton, it needs to comply with the city’s stringent regulations on driver training, licensing and revenue.

“We have hundreds of taxi drivers and brokers (who follow) the rules,” he said.

Mayor Fed Eisenberger supported the motion, saying Uber is “sweeping” the globe andHamiltonbetter get ready to deal with the issues if the company arrives in the city.

“Whether we like it or not, we need to get ahead,” he said. “It’s not about wanting Uber (in Hamilton), it’s about the need to understand.”

 

Hamilton calls on Uber for talks

News Dec 10, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 Hamilton politicians want to have a talk with Uber representatives, the online rideshare service, before  the controversial service decides to make the city home.

Councillors approved a motion Dec. 11 at the general issues committee meeting, introduced by Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla  for city officials to discuss “the feasibility” of an Uber service in Hamilton.

Merulla said it’s vital to have “a plan of action”  before Uber decides to move into Hamilton.

“It’s important to be ahead of the issue,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a knee-jerk reaction.”

Politicians will vote on the recommendation at their Dec. 17 council meeting.

Uber, introduced in 2010 inSan Francisco, uses a smart phone application to receive ride requests, and then sends them to their drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.

The service is available in about 52 countries, including the United States, Germany, India, France and England,  and over 200 cities., including Ottawa, Montreal, Denver, and Boston.

The company has been valued at about $40 billion because of such high-profile investors as Google Venture and Goldman Sachs.

But Uber has also been the subject of legal action by someUnited Statescities to prevent it from operating in their areas, and fierce opposition inEurope. There have been on-going protests from taxi drivers, and taxi companies that believe ride sharing companies are illegal taxicab operations that engage in unfair business practices.

The company has been banned inSpain, and two cities in India have prohibited it. InIndia an Uber driver is being accused of attacking women.

The Hamilton-based Ontario Taxi Union president Mahmud Ali Naimpoor said in a brief interview his union wants politicians to keep Uber out of Hamilton. He said their union has a lot of members who would be affected.

Union organizations in Ottawa, Montreal andVancouver have strongly opposed the rideshare service. InToronto, city officials are seeking legal action to prohibit the service from operating.

Unions are also backing Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser’s private member’s bill called the Passenger Safety Act that would impose fines of up to $30,000 for operating without a license.

The Canadian Competition Bureau, though, has endorsed Uber, saying the “digital dispatch services offer an innovative and convenient alternative to traditional method of arranging urban transit …”  

Merulla, who has been chair of the city’s licensing committee,  said Uber officials need to understand if it does provide a service in Hamilton, it needs to comply with the city’s stringent regulations on driver training, licensing and revenue.

“We have hundreds of taxi drivers and brokers (who follow) the rules,” he said.

Mayor Fed Eisenberger supported the motion, saying Uber is “sweeping” the globe andHamiltonbetter get ready to deal with the issues if the company arrives in the city.

“Whether we like it or not, we need to get ahead,” he said. “It’s not about wanting Uber (in Hamilton), it’s about the need to understand.”