The arrival of TappCar is making it easier for inner-city residents to get along without a car. That’s just one benefit of the new Edmonton-based rideshare service that hit Calgary streets this week.
With the launch in Calgary, TappCar hopes to drive business with satisfied drivers behind the wheel, happy customers and a business model that works with the City of Calgary’s livery transportation rules.
Last year’s Uber entry into the Calgary market didn’t last long because that rideshare company did things the other way around, wanting the City to conform to its business model. When that didn’t happen, Uber pulled out.
The City of Calgary was forced to examine transportation bylaws after Uber tried to drive their own agenda in Calgary. Earlier this year city council adopted amendments to livery transport guidelines and the new rules came into effect April 4.
Transportation network companies and rideshare services are now legal provided the app used to hail rides is approved by the City of Calgary. In addition, all drivers must have a Class 4 license and have passed a police check. In addition, provincially approved insurance must be in place.
Uber found these new by-laws unworkable as did another rideshare company called Lyft.
TappCar finds it completely workable and launched May 24 in Calgary with 40 drivers on the road and 5,000 downloads of the TappCar app as of launch date. By the end of the month the service pledges to have 70 drivers.
TappCar was founded just this past March in Edmonton and has 250 drivers. The app has been downloaded in the Edmonton region 30,000 times.
What is the TappCar business model?
Drivers who are full-time must pay a $250 weekly fee to pay for union dues, pension plan contributions, health benefits and insurance for commercial vehicles. Anything that drivers make in excess of that is theirs, including tips. Drivers are eligible for benefits after three months of service. They are trained on how to effectively use their smartphones as all business is done via phone as opposed to computers or radios.
TappCar was created by Edmontonians Jonathon Wescott and Shayne Saskiw. Each has business experience and has been involved in politics in Alberta. Wescott and Saskiw own the majority of TappCar with minority investors in Alberta.
There is a 24-hour phone number and email support in case there are issues with the service.
Customers simply have to download the app from the App Store or Google Play. The location for pick-up is entered in the app and customers select Book Now. The next screen is where customers can enter their trip destination to get a trip cost estimate, select a method of payment and enter promo codes if they have one.
Like other rideshare services, customers are encouraged to rate their TappCar driver and offer other comments once the trip is concluded.
With the densification of the city and the development of inner-city condo developments that are either dispensing with parking or limiting it, the addition of a reliable rideshare service is not only inevitable, it is necessary.