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Uber once again eyeing Calgary market

As the holidays approach, there will be many opportunities where Calgary residents can imbibe alcoholic beverages at parties and family dinners. However, unless they are entertaining in their own homes, these same revelers will then have to arrange for a sober ride home or risk a conviction for drunk driving or worse.

The Calgary city administrators may have just broadened their options somewhat. Amended bylaws could lure ride-sharing businesses to provide services here. Burdensome bylaws forced Uber out of the marketplace back in February, but the word is that the city and company are once again discussing Uber's re-entry to the ride-share market.

But first, council has to approve these amendments. A proposal for a new alternative licencing fee system for Transportation Network Companies is on the table, and Uber's spokesperson has confirmed the company is engaged in negotiations with Calgary officials.

The spokesperson issued a company statement, saying, "We have been engaged in a dialogue with the City of Calgary and we hope that the proposed changes will be approved . . . so that Calgarians can benefit from ride-sharing."

The councilman who case the only "nay" vote for the passage of the bylaw earlier this year has stated that the current proposals may bring other opportunities for ride-sharing companies to compete in the local marketplace.

If all goes well, ride-share companies will pay scalable fees based on the total number of drivers they employ, licencing fees of $15 for every driver and another 20 cents for every trip they make. This is a far cry from the former annual licensing fee of $1,753.

Regardless of the future of ride-sharing in Calgary, drivers who drink are at risk of being charged with driving while intoxicated.

Source: Calgary Herald, "Changes to ride-share bylaw could see Uber back in Calgary by holiday season," Annalise Klingbeil, Oct. 17, 2016

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