Ottawa prepping for Lyft application, after successful year with Uber

Critics question Uber's spotless record as another ride-sharing service could move to town.

More rideshare change appears to be on the way, as the city is preparing for Lyft to expand into Ottawa in the near future. 

On Tuesday, Metro reported that the city had held meetings with senior executives from the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company. At Thursday’s community and protective services meeting, bylaw chief Roger Chapman confirmed Lyft had expressed interest, and the city had given the company an application form that they expect to be submitted soon. 

Coun. Keith Egli, who chairs the transportation committee, said that “Ottawa would be the obvious choice” for Lyft after Toronto. 

The city’s enthusiasm for Lyft was spurred by what they see as a successful year of operation for Uber. Chapman noted that they have not received any safety complaints from the 6.36 million Uber rides that have been taken in the city. 

That claim, though, drew both the disbelief of some members of the committee, and the ire of the taxi industry. 

“You can’t tell me in 6.4 million trips, there have been no incidents,” said Coun. Riley Brockington. “Because there have been incidents.” 

Chapman said that any serious incidents—sexual assaults, for instance—would be reported to the police, and not bylaw, but that they were not aware of any such investigations over the past year. 

Members of the taxi industry were also on hand to share their concerns, with some feeling left behind by the city’s enthusiasm about Uber. 

“I’m so disgusted because of all this information,” said Tony Hajjar, an Ottawa cab driver. “All this information is coming from Uber, and I’m sure Uber is not ready to divulge all the incidents” that have taken place in their vehicles. 

Hajjar suggested that the city should be more proactive about policing safety in Uber cars, not just bylaw enforcement. “If [the city] really want to hear the truth of what’s happening in Uber cars, maybe the can set up a complaint line, just like they have a complaint line for taxis.” 

This story originally appeared in Metro News.