Regina taxi companies report losing drivers business to Uber since launchRegina taxi companies report losing drivers business to Uber since launch


BECKY KATZ DAVIS / AFP/Getty Images Co-Op Taxi president Daljit Singh says he’s lost over 100 drivers since Uber launched in mid-May, some to Uber itself and others to the trucking industry.“Nobody’s making money. That’s the problem,” said Singh in an interview Thursday. “If you’re not making enough money you’re not going to stay here.”Uber was launched almost three months after a ride-sharing bylaw was passed by city council in February.Taxi companies spoke out against the proposed legislation which imposes fewer regulations on ride-share companies than taxi companies, saying it created an uneven playing field and put rider safety at risk.The approved licensing system for ride-sharing companies does not include vehicle caps, mandatory cameras or minimum fares.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Glen Sali, owner and manager of Capital Cabs, says he’s lost drivers too, but wouldn’t say how many.“Everybody seems to be concerned about how it’s hurting us, it’s like people take pleasure in that,” he said in an interview Thursday.Of the drivers that have left Capital Cabs to drive for Uber, Sali said he’s heard from some that they aren’t making the kind of money they expected. He called the market flooded.“It’s an unfair system,” he said, adding there would be room for both industries in the city if the regulations were the same.While it may not be working for taxi companies, it seems to be working for customers.Twenty-nine-year-old Seth Armstrong has used Uber about a dozen times since it launched and described his experience as fantastic and right on par with all the other major cities he’s used the service in like Ottawa, New York City and Edmonton.“I can’t say enough good things,” said Armstrong in an interview Monday. “Every driver I’ve ever had has been extremely courteous and friendly.”Armstrong says no matter where in the city he is, he’s never had to wait longer than 10 minutes and most Ubers arrive in five minutes or less.And the price is right.“That’s the second biggest reason I use it. The first is the quality of service, but the second for sure is the price,” he said. “It’s so much more reasonable.”A ride that used to cost $30 in a cab, now costs him $15 with Uber, he said. Uber launched in Regina in May 2019. Forty-eight-year-old Leigh Kaufmann agreed, Uber is convenient and cost-effective.“I would say we would probably pick Uber over a cab for, well the top three reasons would be convenience, price and the vehicle cleanliness/appearance,” she said in an interview Monday.Kaufmann has only used Uber once in Regina, but has ridden in Ubers in San Fransisco, Houston, Toronto and Calgary. She said safety has not been an issue.“I’ve never felt unsafe in an Uber or necessarily in a cab either,” she said. “I would say as a woman taking transportation like that you have to be smart no matter what you’re taking.”Armstrong said he makes sure the car and the driver match the description sent to him by Uber, including the license plate, make and model of the vehicle and the photo of the driver, before getting in the vehicle.“It’s just been a great change because competition always to me breeds better service across the board,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to see another player come into town, shake some things up and get people caring again.”When asked what message he’d like to send to taxi companies losing drivers and business to Uber, he called on them to step up their game.“If someone’s doing something better than you, try and outdo them. Don’t rest on your laurels,” he said.Armstrong says on any given day he sees at least a dozen active drivers on the Uber app, and more in the evenings.Uber declined a request for an interview and wouldn’t specify how many drivers have signed up in Regina, but sent a statement by email.“We’re very pleased to see the ongoing interest for ridesharing in Regina,” said the statement. “In the months following our launch in the city, we have continually seen residents choose to use Uber as a safe and reliable alternative to driving.”Despite losing drivers, Sali said the business has been doing OK since Uber came to town.“We have a good charge-account business and stuff like that so we’ve been managing all right,” he said.“All I asked for was have regulations and stuff similar to the taxis and let us compete with it, but we’re not getting that.”He said safety is still a big concern and it’s only a matter of time until something happens.Safety is on Singh’s mind too. He repeated calls for mandatory cameras and city-issued ID’s in order to have more municipal oversight.As far as business goes, he’s not sure how long his will survive.“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Singh. “Business is slowing every day.”jackerman@postemedia.com

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