Montreal is slowly catching up to Toronto. Lyft has mentioned that they are looking to add Montreal to their list of Canadian locations where they operate. They have been operating in The Greater Toronto area since the end of 2018. They also have recently launched their service in Ottawa.
Lyft mentioned that they potentially will be launching in the summer of 2019 in Montreal. Lyft thinks that the new Bill 21 in Quebec will be good for their business, even though hundreds of taxi drivers there protested against it, and some even did self imposed harm, like cutting their wrists on live TV, to get media attention.
Uber is in the news a lot lately due to passengers’ major safety issues. To counter image that Uber is unsafe, Uber has decided to launch in-app safety feature that will be rolled out in Canada and USA first.
So why is Uber launching this safety feature now? Because a lot of Uber app users do not check the car they are getting into and can end up in a dangerous situation.
In Toronto just recently female passenger got into a vehicle she thought was her Uber – but ended up in a wrong vehicle and got sexually assaulted.
According to Toronto Police’s investigation into a sexual assault in the Royal York Road and Evans Avenue area. Police said that a 21-year-old woman entered a black SUV driven by a man, the man drove her away from Toronto not allowing her to exit the SUV , he took her to a fast food restaurant parking lot in Mississauga , the woman tried to get assistance from a bystander , he then drove her to a secluded side street , he sexually assaulted her , The woman was dropped off later that morning, she then contacted police.
In South Carolina – same thing happened – student got into a wrong car – and was discovered murdered shortly. Police there said that they believe South Carolina student entered a wrong vehicle that was not her Uber.
Uber’s new Check your ride initiative launched the following educational video to remind Uber users to be careful:
Uber reminds people to match the car model and license plate with the information in the app and recommends you follow the following three steps:
Match the license plate number
Match the car make and model
Check the driver’s photo
Uber also recommends you use Follow My Ride feature. This new feature allows you to inform people on your whereabouts.
The company that wanted to take on Uber and had government backing could not last even 3 years, as it was forced to shut down this week and their work force of about 450 drivers were let go.
Dominic Becotte, interim president for Teo, said that as much as they tried the company remained unprofitable all these years.
Becotte said Uber was partially to blame because “the conditions are not the same for all players in the mobility sector.”
Teo was given about $7.25 million dollars in Quebec government subsidies (around $5m for electric vehicle, $1.25m for vehicles and $1m for taxi permits). Teo said that was not enough, and tried to ask for more help from Quebec government but was denied.
It is not clear why backers like FTQ Solidarity Fund and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec did not step up to provide Teo more money. They have initially backed it with around $25m.
The big problems for Teo were three fold:
Quebec government did not allow them to adjust their rates and tariffs dynamically – meaning rush hour or big concert demand – Teo still could only get one pricing for the service
Electric vehicles are way more expensive to maintain than initially anticipated
Drivers had decided to unionize and therefore most likely driven costs even higher
Alexandre Taillefer, founder of Teo, said that they will now seek protection from its creditors.
Taillefer had initially touted three years ago:
“I’m not worried about Uber at all. We’re very confident we’ll provide an experience that’s way better. And what we’re doing for the drivers is fantastic. We’re allowing them to make a decent living while driving a cab. Montrealers need to adopt companies that focus on enhancing the lives of drivers.”
Doug Ford, recently elected Ontario premier, has decided to cut down on some red tape when it comes to self driving cars in Canadian province of Ontario.
Of course, it will not be free for all , and drivers would need to follow the following exemptions:
Regular folks like you and me can use self-driving cars but only if they are designed to be Level 3 – Conditional Automation: The vehicle becomes a co-pilot. The vehicle manages most safety-critical driving functions but the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times. The problem is none of the cars on the market in Canada are Level 3 so we might need to wait a bit for them to come here.
When it comes to approved auto manufacturers, tech companies, universities, research institutions and systems manufacturers – they can operate Level 5 – Full Automation: Vehicle is capable of being completely driverless. Full-time automated driving in all conditions without need for a human driver. The government will need to sign off on each car that they own before they can start driving it around or more accurately being driven around in one. Also as a driver inside the car even though you are not driving you will still be responsible for the car’s operations and be charged for any offense: distracted, careless and impaired driving laws.
“At the University of Waterloo we are conducting unique research in the field of autonomous vehicles, like improving self-driving in Canadian weather conditions such as sleet and snow. After recently celebrating 100 kilometres driven on public roads, the measures announced today will allow projects like Autonomoose to further advance important research opportunities in this emerging sector, while training highly qualified personnel for industry.”
Ross McKenzie Managing Director, WatCAR, University of Waterloo
As you know Uber Eats is becoming very popular across Canada right now. In case you did not have a chance to use – uberEATS allows people across growing number of Canadian cities like Toronto, Mississauga, and Ottawa, to get the food they want, from the local restaurants they love, delivered to them at Uber speed.
Some people get carried away with Uber or UberEats though by spending thousands of dollars a month on restaurant take-outs instead of cooking. This is similar to people who used to take bus or subway to places now get tired of waiting and prefer to take a quick Uber ride instead. This does some big damage on their bank account for sure.
Wish Uber Eats would go to the grocery store for me
So Uber realized your bank account might be hurting and that is why they now want to get into a business of delivering your groceries and competing with grocery delivery companies like Instacart.
How do we know? It is based on their recent tech job post in Toronto:
Basically they are looking for Head of Grocery Product, as explained on their Glassdoor job advertisement they say: Uber Eats is looking for a Head of Grocery Product. This role will define, build the organization and globally scale a brand new product offering which will fundamentally evolve how people purchase their groceries.
This is a new job for them as they do not deliver groceries yet anywhere in the world. It is pretty cool that they have decided to hire for this role right here in Toronto. They are definitely hiring anyone they deem worthy at very rapid speed – after opening an office in Toronto just few years ago – they are now employing over 200 mostly tech employees.
Nobody knows yet whether they will partner up with local supermarkets or deliver their own groceries like Amazon. We will wait and see.
British Columbia has finally introduced legislation where you can drive for Uber legally in that province. This will officially kick in around mid of 2019.
You would need to get a Class 4 (or more known as commercial license) instead of normal Class 5 license and undergo criminal check to drive for the ride sharing company.
Transportation Minister , Claire Trevena , said it is a matter of safety:
“It’s got stricter limits on it and I think that anybody who’s getting in as a passenger wants to know the driver is as safe as possible.”
Here is what the difference is:
Class 4 (unrestricted)
What you can use it for:
To drive buses with a maximum seating capacity of 25 persons (including the driver), including school buses, special activity buses and special vehicles used to transport people with disabilities
To drive taxis and limousines
To drive ambulances
To drive any vehicle in Class 5
Class 5 or 7 driver’s licence
What you can use it for:
To drive cars, vans, trucks, construction, utility vehicles (2 axles maximum) and motorhomes (may exceed 2 axles)
To tow trailers or vehicles up to 4,600kg
To ride a limited speed motorcycle or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV)
To ride 3-wheeled vehicles but does not include 3-wheeled motorcycles (trikes) or motorcycle/sidecar combinations
Uber Manager Michael van Hemme said he was disappointed by the BC’s decision as Class 4 license is more difficult to get:
“Drivers, experienced safe drivers have a hard time understanding why they would need to get a special driver’s licence to drive the same vehicle that they’re already driving, so it definitely becomes a barrier to a lot of people to participate.”
“I hope that the government is willing to continue to engage until the entire framework is finalized and we will continue to work with the NDP government and all parties to ensure true best practices from other jurisdictions are adopted here in B.C. and lay out the benefits of doing so,” van Hemmen said.
Helen del Val from North Vancouver wrote in to The Vancouver Sun questioning the British Columbia’s NDP government’s decision:
“I take early and late flights on a regular basis for work so I take taxis. On the last trip, I waited 45 minutes for a cab home.
When I read Tuesday’s article about some of the rules and regulations being put in place to bring Uber in, I pre-booked YVR parking for a trip and I will pre-book it for next week’s trip and so on. I’m driving. Every other city has figured out ride-hailing so why can’t we?
The provincial government’s action in putting up all the hurdles to block/delay Uber is akin to a judge setting bail at an amount he or she knows the accused cannot raise. Our government has no will and courage to bring in Uber and lacks the integrity to admit it.”
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