The fight in Edmonton for Uber vs Taxis has finally reached its head today, with the final vote for the updated Vehicle for Hire bylaw to be debated by the end of the day (barring any disruptions to council).
Potentially complicating matters is that this takes place during the very beginning of the Ward 12 by-election, meaning one seat on council is vacant. This is perhaps extra complicating matters as some of the candidates for the by-election are either directly involved with the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton or calling for a postponement of the debate, under the understanding that Ward 12 contains a disproportionate number of taxi drivers relative to other wards of the city.
Of course, taxi drivers are only one half of the equation, and taxi users are also important to consider. While the stat on the previous link that 35% of cabbies live in Ward 12 is only sourced to the Nav Kaur campaign, there is plenty of other information from the cab users from a 2014 city survey that reveals some data from the consumer side of things. This first map, for instance, indicates the percentage of people who regularly take taxis in each ward*:
Green: higher taxi usage; Red: lower taxi usage
*Postal codes T5C, T5S, and T6P had low survey turnout and probably should be disregarded in this map.
As may be expected, taxis are more commonly used in the interior of the city, and less commonly used to the west and east. Councillors who might be more concerned than average about their constituents' access to taxis could include McKeen (ward 6), Henderson, (ward 8), Walters (ward 10) and Nickel (ward 11).
The survey also looked at the perceived importance and satisfaction for taxis in Edmonton. Both questions were rated from 1-5, with five being the most positive (extremely important and very satisfied, respectively). The averages for each ward are:
Green: High importance; Red: Low importance
Green: High satisfaction; Red: low satisfaction
On average, Edmonton citizens tend to view taxi services as somewhere between moderately and very important (3.86/5), and are somewhere between somewhat dissatisfied and neutral about their experiences (2.79/5).
This post is mostly not to provide opinions, but to share some of the data that the city has on taxi users in Edmonton. There are parts of the city where people regularly take taxis and think they are important, but also aren't satisfied with the service they receive, and regardless of the outcome of today's vote hopefully opening up the discussion around taxi alternatives results in a better user experience overall.