Uber driver charged in Ottawa
Published Sunday, October 5, 2014 6:18PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 6, 2014 1:47PM EDT
After weeks of contentious debates, the fight between Uber and the City of Ottawa is heating up.
This weekend, the City made good on its vow to press charges against Uber if the company's drivers were found to be breaking bylaw rules.
At least one driver under the new ride share app-based program has been fined this weekend for providing rides, allegedly breaking city taxi regulations.
The news comes just after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird threw his support behind the service giving taxi companies competition.
On Saturday night, Baird tweeted “75 minutes. 5 calls. No cab. Tonight I see the need for more competition with Uber.”
Uber bills itself as a ride sharing service, but the City says if rides are being providing for a fee, it’s a taxi service, and needs to comply with the city’s taxi regulations.
In a statement provided to CTV Uber says: “Costly sting operations, that seek to protect a monopoly that has remained unchanged for decades only hurts the consumers that have been asking for expanded transportation choices...we don’t believe Ottawa citizens should be threatened or penalized for providing a safe and reliable ride to their fellow Ottawans. If any of our partners encounters an issue as a result of their partnership with Uber, we stand by them fully.”
Uber is already operating in more than 200 cities in 45 countries.
It bills itself as being faster and about 40 percent cheaper than an Ottawa taxi.
Uber charges $.090 per kilometre, while a standard taxi charges $1.86.
It says a ride from the Rideau Centre from the airport would cost $22 with Uber, compared to $40 with a standard taxi.
As part of its Ottawa launch, Uber is providing free rides until further notice.