Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday May 22, 2015
Uber would require ‘political solution’ to operate ride-share in Hamilton
The city’s director of licensing says it’s up to politicians to decide whether Uber can overcome regulatory hurdles to operate in Hamilton.
“In all honesty, if, in fact, Uber is going to come to our community and operate, effectively dealing with their business model, they’ll require a political solution versus an enforcement solution,” Ken Leendertse said Thursday.
So far, the city has been at loggerheads with the San Francisco-based ride-share service, which has only kicked Hamilton’s tires but not committed to establishing a beachhead here.
It’s not clear if a political solution is on the horizon. Mayor Fred Eisenberger is in a wait-and-see mode, noting city staff are meeting with Uber representatives to “get a clear understanding” of how they can legally operate.
“This is something I support and encourage for all businesses looking to invest in Hamilton.”
During an information session this week, Uber representatives addressed concerns about insurance, vehicle safety and drivers’ background checks, Leendertse said.
“And we feel much more comfortable.”
But to legally operate in Hamilton, Uber would have to become a licensed taxi broker, he added.
That would significantly alter its business model: the company’s latest service, UberX, eliminates the need for dispatch services, and allows customers to hire unlicensed taxi drivers by using their cellphone.
Uber has established footholds in 250 cities around the world, but has been greeted with resistance with critics citing safety concerns. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)