There is obviously a problem with Uber because there are a growing number of  cities and countries have enacted legislation to ban or remove Uber.  Read Why Is Uber Banned in So Many Places?

So lets look at the reality of Uber coming to Halifax…

The public is under the false notion that Uber is a better and safer mode of transportation than a taxi.  

Let’s compare the process for an Uber driver compared to a licensed HRM driver.

HRM licensed Taxi / Limo driver:

  1. English language proficiency test that is equivalent to a minimum of a level 5 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks .
  2. completed driver application
  3. criminal record/vulnerable sector check, current within 30 days
  4. driver’s (Client Use) Abstract, current within 30 days
  5. two passport-sized photos, dated and stamped within 30 days
  6. Nova Scotia driver’s licence (minimum class 4)
  7. $50 application fee
  8. Driver knowledge tests each one hour, 100 questions
    1. Taxi By-Law T-1000 and Admin Order 39
    2. Streets and Roads
    3. Buildings and Common Locations
      To pass, must obtain a score of 70% or above on each test.
  9. The applicant must then register for the National Certification Program (NSTHRC) [PDF] before you receive your Conditional Taxi Driver Licence.
  10. You have 12 months to complete the National Certification Program [PDF] before your conditional licence expires. Failure to complete the program will result in your licence being terminated.
  11. A written letter from an insurance company stating the applicant is commercially insured on the vehicle they are driving.
  12. Vehicle must have a new MVI sticker every year.

All documents inspected by and regulations enforced by by law enforcement officers employed by the city of Halifax.

Uber:

  • A regular class 5 drivers license. –
  • Drivers are required to maintain a personal insurance policy. –
  • Vehicle model year must be 7 years or newer.
  • 4-door vehicle with independently opening doors.
  • Good condition with no cosmetic damage.
  • No commercial branding.
  • No salvaged or rebuilt vehicles.
  • Pass a vehicle inspection.
  • Pass a background check by Checkr Inc. – an american company in San Fransisco, where Uber is located.

Major Security Concerns with Uber:

Submission of documents to Uber –

Numerous comments and survey the respondents of a survey (13400 responded representing only 3% of Halifax’s population) suggest that the main reasons why the public want Uber is 

  • to service the downtown on Friday, Saturday nights when demand is high. 
  • They feel the Uber is safer because they know who the driver is and the cars are tracked.
  • Taxis are perceived as expensive

Price

A point to consider is that should Uber be permitted downtown, there is only so much room for so many cars which at times get grid locked with regular taxi serving during busy times.
If Uber were permitted to operate in this they would implement their surge pricing. Halifax will find themselves in the same position as Toronto paying as much as three time normal cab rates
Taxis rates are regulated and consistent. 

Driver Turnover

It is predicted that if Uber were permitted in Halifax, the driver turnover rate would follow trends in other cities where only 4% of drivers remain working for Uber after just one year. 
According to Uber Statistics: Average Uber driver income is $364/month

US Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly rate can be as low as $8.55

The income as an Uber driver is not sustainable to keep a quality car on the road.

Amateur Drivers

There is a safety risk to allowing amateur drivers who decide to become part time professional drivers as a side hussle.  They are usually inexperienced or low experienced drivers trying to supplement their income. Read this response by a former Rideshare driver: How dangerous is Uber for drivers/passengers?  

Distracted Driving

There is a lot of pressure on a driver to answer the Uber app when working. When a service call comes in from Uber — by way of a loud beeping on the phone — a driver typically has 15 seconds to tap the phone to accept the fare. That can mean looking at the phone, seeing how far away the customer is and then making a decision. Failure to respond in 15 seconds means the fare goes to a different driver. In some cities, including New York, failure to respond to several calls in a row can lead to Uber’s temporarily suspending a driver.  You need not be a neuroscientist or safety advocate to see the potential for danger when the phone, a potential source of driver distraction, becomes an essential means of transaction.

Ghost Cars

As already stated the high demand for taxis is on Friday and Saturday nights.  During this time the usual way of getting home is to hail a cab from the street.  Regulated taxis are marked vehicles, drivers are required to display their license in the car to the passengers.  The car has a HRM decals stating the license number on the bumper, and on the inside windows of the vehicle.
While hailing an Uber is prohibited, it will not stop inebriated individuals from attempting to hail any car they see with an Uber sticker on the window of the car. 
Or worse – those who purposely attempt to state impersonate an Uber driver that they ordered and pickup up unsuspecting single women.  When you take into account that anyone can purchase an Uber sticker and represent themselves as an Uber driver – this alone puts the public at risk from criminals with ill intent.
If Halifax’s concern is safety – allowing Uber to roam the streets on busy nights is a safety risk to the public itself.
Fake Uber Drivers
Riders Beware of Fake Uber Drivers
Fake Uber driver pleads guilty to sexual assault and fraud 
Fake Uber driver accused of sexual assault released on bail
Ottawa man who allegedly impersonated an Uber driver facing sexual assault charges

Sexual Assaults

It is a false perception that a passenger is any safer in an Uber car. The above “ghost car” scenario is a primary example of the risks of unmarked or easily Uber-marked cars.
There is also a growing list of sexual assault cases in Canada & the US from Uber and other Ride-Share app companies:
Sexual Assaults by Uber & other Rideshare App Companies

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