A new company that emerged through Uber’s missed opportunity to operate legally in Edmonton says it will be launching on March 14. TappCar announced its presence last month as U.S. ride-sharing giant Uber pulled out of the Edmonton market while it awaits auto insurance clearance in the city.
The company said at the time that it hopes to fill the void left by Uber, while also taking some of the company’s passengers. While Uber has courted controversy with local municipalities and the traditional taxi industry, TappCar says it is different as it is a mix between a taxi and ride-sharing services.
“It will be very competitive with the Uber and the traditional taxi services,” TappCar’s Pascal Ryffel said last month. “We’re really hoping that people get behind us.”
Indeed, while TappCar is tiny compared to the $40 billion valued Uber, it perhaps offers a more appealing services, especially for authorities. The company works like Uber, using a smartphone application to connect passengers with freelance drivers. The difference, and likely to be key for regulators, is that the company requires its drivers to have both a Class 4 driver’s license and commercial auto insurance.
In this respect TappCar drivers are taxi drivers in all but name, and already the service is being promoted as a way for traditional cabbies to earn extra money.
“I think people are interested in our business model because it’s a local company that is following all the rules,” said TappCar spokesperson Pascal Ryffel.
Mohamed Sidahmed, a former Uber driver, said he has turned to TappCar because of the company’s legal position in Alberta.
“I see the difference that we had to do a criminal check and lots of training, and lots of safety,” he said.
Sidahmed pointed to Uber’s future, where its drivers will also need criminal checks and class 4 permits, which cost him a total of $150. While TappCar is appealing, Uber has a dedicated consumer-base and many consumers simply do not care that the company was operating unregulated in Edmonton and beyond.
While Uber has now left the city, it will likely be back and in a legal capacity during the summer, providing TappCar with huge competition. It is clear that the sharing market is kicking into gear, Uber will not have things all its own way, and Canada simply has to adopt the industry as it is coming either way.