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Uber in Edmonton, TappCar in Calgary, Lyft in Alberta?

DYK Post
Will Uber RETURN to Edmonton? Will TappCar be a success in Calgary?


On March 1st of this year, Uber suspended all of its operations in Edmonton due to the province of Alberta failing to provide proper insurance policies for ride-sharing drivers, causing roughly 4,000 Edmontonians to lose their jobs whether part-time or full-time. Upon suspension, Uber spokespersons informed Edmontonians that they would more than likely return to Edmonton if and when things were taken care of on that front.

Edmonton loves Uber
Edmonton loves Uber – via CBC.ca

Something that is not required in most other cities, that Alberta is making a requirement, is a Class 4 license. Most everyday drivers do not have one, and so this is just one additional issue that drivers would have to take care of if they would like to drive for Uber on its return to Edmonton – if and whenever that happens. A Class 4 is the same licence taxi drivers are required to possess, which makes it a level playing field in that regard, and I am all for it.

It costs $137.85 to get a class 4 drivers license in Alberta. Not bad.

As of mid-May, ridesharing companies such as Uber will face stiff fines of up to $50,000 per offence for having drivers without proper insurance, licences and background checks, under proposed provincial rules.

So as of right now, if Uber were to return to Edmonton, its potential drivers would require the following:

• Class 4 drivers license
• Insurance specific to transporting people (coming July 1, 2016)
• Clean police background check

Not too bad at all. Of course, depending on how costly the additional insurance will cost, this could still be a win-win situation for rideshare drivers in Alberta, while at the same time, creating a much more level playing field when it comes to taxi vs. rideshare in this province.

On May 6, 2016, Uber users across Canada helped donate $20,000 to Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees by using Uber and entering UBER4FM in the app.


On May 3, 2016, City of Toronto made Uber and all rideshare 100% legal in the Toronto area.

Uber rideshare becomes legal in Toronto Ontario
Uber rideshare becomes legal in Toronto Ontario

To create a level playing field for Toronto’s taxi drivers, Toronto mayor John Tory created the following rules:

• All Uber drivers must have over 2 million dollars in insurance
• Background checks for Uber drivers will be submitted to the city
• No training is now required for Taxi drivers (including CPR)
• Surge Pricing is now available for Taxi cabs

We deeply appreciate your support and look forward to our continued growth in Toronto. Everything you know and love about Uber, including prices, will stay the same.Uber Canada’s general manager, Ian Black


Although Uber rideshare has not been able to make a legal return to Edmonton as of this posting, the company has indeed decided to bring its successful UberEATS service to our streets. UberEATS Edmonton went live on May 26, 2016, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak with one of its drivers yesterday.

He informed me that UberEATS isn’t something you’d want to do full time, nor is it 100% in the way that it is being run. You can tell that it is a brand new service to this city due to the number of mistakes that are occurring on a daily basis.

UberEATS enters the Edmonton market after success in Toronto
UberEATS enters the Edmonton market after success in Toronto

UberEATS is currently catering to roughly 40 restaurants in the Edmonton area. I am unsure as to how many drivers are working for the service at this time, but I’m sure it is nowhere remotely close to the 4,000 drivers that were driving for Uber in Edmonton last year and earlier this year.

If you’re a driver for UberEATS, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

We’re working with over forty of the best spots in Edmonton to put the best local food all in one place. If your favourite restaurants are cooking, UberEATS is delivering.UberEATS


Calgary’s bylaw requires ride-sharing drivers to have a Class 4 driver’s license and a commercial license. It also requires an annual $220 operating license from the city, regular inspections, proof of eligibility to work in Canada and a police background check. Uber officials have complained that these rules are far too onerous, and claim they will not be able to operate in Calgary as a result.

Calgary's entrepreneur Brett Wilson showing Uber
Calgary’s entrepreneur Brett Wilson showing Uber

I am unsure if Uber Canada has any plans for re-entry into Calgary at the time being. Calgary city council is very keen and stern on their outlines for rideshare and refuses to budge.

Calgary is now in the midst of a price war between its taxi companies. Calgary’s new vehicle for hire bylaws have removed minimum and maximum rates, allowing local taxi companies to start undercutting one another. A collapse in fare prices may eliminate some of the demand for Uber, and combined with the strictness of Calgary’s new bylaws, makes Uber’s return to Calgary far from certain.Mondaq


The Edmonton started rideshare company TappCar has had great success in its debuting city, and has already decided to expand into Calgary after just 3 short months of being in operation.

TappCar in Calgary
TappCar in Calgary — via metronews.ca

TappCar pledged to donate a loonie from each fare during its first three days of operation in Calgary to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.Calgary Harold

TappCar initially launched in Edmonton in March and already employs 250 drivers, with over 30,000 downloads of the TappCar smartphone app. In Calgary, the app has been downloaded roughly 5,000 times, and already has 40 drivers on their roads.

Times are incredibly tough for Calgary taxi drivers, and the entrance of TappCar, although welcomed, will only make things more difficult for those taxi drivers.

Calgary taxi saw a massive drop of 23% fewer rides from 2014 to 2015.


Lyft rideshare logo

Successful ridesharing company Lyft (second best worldwide) has stated that they will not be launching in Alberta under the current regulatory system.



As an ex-Uber driver myself, I do hope that Uber does make its way back into Edmonton in July or shortly thereafter. I will more than likely get my Class 4 driver’s license, get the proper rideshare insurance, and re-apply to become a partner for the company once again.

I mostly drove on weekends, where I would proudly get people home from the West Edmonton Mall’s BRBN Street – where most of the late-night bars, clubs and restaurants are located. It gives you a good feeling to know that you are getting these people home safely and in a timely fashion.



Jody Mitoma

Founder of Edmonton Talks News.

5 thoughts on “Uber in Edmonton, TappCar in Calgary, Lyft in Alberta?

  • June 1, 2016 at 5:49 PM

    Well written. I’m curious, does anyone believe that the class 4 license requirement actually improves safety for anyone?

    • June 2, 2016 at 2:18 AM

      I personally don’t whatsoever, but maybe that’s just me. 😉

    • October 8, 2016 at 10:24 PM

      Nope sure doesn’t but city gets a bigger cut cause class 4 costs more. That’s only reason it’s there

      • February 22, 2017 at 4:00 PM

        Class 4 has nothing to do with the City, it’s a Provincial law it requires another knowledge/road test, as well as a medical physical. The city does impose fees to operate as a driver for hire, so that’s where they get their money as well as $0.06 per ride. Edmonton is also requiring annual vehicle inspections, and the criminal background check.

  • June 21, 2017 at 6:01 PM

    BULLsht it costs only 137 for class 4! it cost me that much for the road test alone. Took 100 to get the medical required before the written test, which is ALSO charged for. Then you are charged 80 to upgrade/change your class of license inc. photo.

    Expect any company to make you do this too: Had to get security check and drivers abstract, all this BEFORE even being considered. Over $500 total by the end, no guarantee you even get the job. license expires every 2 years (sooner than class 5) and needs a medical each time which is another 100.

    ya, it’s NOT JUST 137$


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