Taxi to TappCar: how Calgary’s first legal rideshare company stacks up

A rideshare company is finally operating legally in Calgary.

TappCar, an Alberta-based company, launched in Edmonton last March. It said over 5,000 Calgarians had already downloaded its app ahead of the Calgary launch Tuesday.

“We’ve received lots of feedback from Calgarians – popular demand – that we come down here and set up shop so that’s what we’re doing,” Pascal Ryffel, a spokesperson for TappCar, said.

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READ MORE: Edmonton ride-sharing app TappCar expands to more regions 

Former professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy took the first ceremonial ride. TappCar is donating $2,500 in fares to families using the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and $1 from every ride during the company’s first three days in business.

“One of the things that really caught our attention is all the background checks that they do with the drivers and the safety and security of that,” Kennedy said. “And the fact that we know they’re insured.”

It’s been a point of controversy in the city.

WATCH: Caught on camera – Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi calls rideshare company Uber ‘dicks’ 

Last October, rideshare giant Uber launched in Calgary, but later pulled out calling the city’s livery bylaws “too onerous.”

TappCar is the first of three rideshare companies currently licensed by the city under its new Transportation Network Companies framework.

Perhaps surprisingly, Allied Limosines is one of those securing a licence and looking at the possibility of launching in the future.

“It opens up doors for a lot of part-time drivers – people who just want to supplement their income on the side,” Cam Naghshineh, General Manager of Allied Limousine, said.

READ MORE: Cheaper cabs in Calgary? Company lowers fares as Uber-inspired regulations take effect

The company launched an app called Allied Black in April of 2015.

“Basically this app works exactly the same as apps that rideshare companies utilize,” Naghshineh said. “It has all the options such as rating the service, leaving comments, requesting the closest call and all that stuff that the rideshare companies have. It’s basically the same thing.”

As far as prices go, a 10-kilometer car fare comes in at $16.45 on TappCar’s website, compared to an estimated $21 fare for the same ride through Allied Black. But TappCar will also charge a “tech fee” on arrival; an extra $1.50 for using their app.

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