Monday, December 11, 2023
Jake Brockman of Uber Canada answers questions from ED Chair Alejandro Bravo. Photo: YouTube
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Bravo questions Uber on how drivers will get $10k electric grant

Following is the transcript of ED Chair Alejandro Bravo’s questions to Jake Brockman of Uber Canada at the September 21st Economic Development Committee. Taxi News will share transcripts of additional deputations in the days ahead.

Click the white arrow at the left to view view. Video: YouTube

Bravo: I’m going to pick up on the question of the $10,000. So, I don’t think I heard you to definitively say, when the $10,000 kicks in, is it when you purchase the vehicle? Or do you have to earn it through use after?

Brockman: Yeah, true Chair, it’s the latter.

Bravo: Okay, so I buy a vehicle, and then when I work up to certain number of hours, I get the $10,000. How many rides around? Would that take?

Brockman: I don’t know exactly the figures, chair, but I will get you the full breakdown of the program…

Bravo: It will be a lot of rides, I’m guessing.

So, I’m going to go back to the question of per rides, because I think that we’re all in agreement that what we want is to ensure that incentives accrue to the actual driver. So, the incentives that you’re indicating requires the driver to take a big financial risk at the front; the incentive that this is being proposed here is a per ride incentive.

Now, I have a question about how you actually ensure that it gets to the driver, when my understanding from is that the actual per ride accrues to the vehicle and not the driver?

And my follow up question is that is has to do with the fact that, that my understanding is that more than one driver can drive one vehicle. So, in fact, we’re not really connecting the incentive per ride to the actual owner of the vehicle, or the person who would be purchasing the electric vehicle.

Brockman: Thank you, Chair. I think in reading the staff report, there is still a bit of confusion out there in terms of how, you know, the licensing fee reduction, how it’s meant to flow to the driver. I would tell you chair, and happy to continue this discussion offline, you know, the more we can upfront those incentives, the better, right? The more that money can flow, per Councillor Moise’s line of questioning upfront to these folks, the better. And, you know, I’ll go back to my discussion of Vancouver and Quebec, for example, those incentives are at the point of purchase. And that’s why we’re seeing that transition. So, you know, I believe that there is probably more technical work to be done to make sure that, you know, if  it is Council’s will to provide incentives to the vehicle for hire industry, we find the smoothest and least bureaucratic way to actually make sure it goes to the drivers.

Bravo: Okay, so thank you, this is really important, because what we’re doing is we’re using public money to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles. But we what you’re telling me is that the city of Toronto currently does not have clarity into the business model, or a way to ensure that that per ride incentive actually gets to an actual driver.

And I really, I thank you for saying that there’s more work to be done. I think the commitment to electrification of the sector is very important; my concern is that we It seems to me that we have some questions to answer around that, because I don’t believe, Mr. Brockman, that you have made a commitment in any way to sort of give the information about the actual driver to municipal licensing and standards.

What they get is actually related to the registration of the actual vehicle. So, there’s a bit of a mismatch here between what we’re trying to incentivize and the tool that we’re using, because you know, if four people are driving the same vehicle, and it’s a per ride subsidy to the vehicle who’s going to purchase who’s going to take on the liability of purchasing a vehicle that we’re talking is $85,000?

Brockman: Thank you, thank you, Chair, I think in you know, happy to continue this conversation offline.

The key for Uber, as I’ve mentioned, is that the money flows of the driver who’s making this investment, right, and taking the trips and doing the work. You know, in terms of the data that we share with the city, we provide on a monthly basis, a full record of all the trips that take place in the city of Toronto, where they start where they stop, and I believe that.

I believe in the staff recommendations, they address some of the tweaks we’d make to that data to ensure that there would be the proper accountability with the audit function to make sure that you know your wishes counselor and that of Council are taken into account with this expenditure of public funds.

Bravo: Thank you. So. So I guess what I’m hearing is there is more work to be done to make sure that we get the incentive to the driver and not because right now it goes to the vehicle, or that what is it counted for other rides of the vehicle, not the rights that are taken by like the work of the drivers.

So that that’s good to know. Thank you. And that is your wish to figure out how to get it to the driver. But we still have more work to do at present. And we’re talking right now but flowing on incentive in January. And I think these are important questions. So, we appreciate you being here.

Any other questions of the deputy? Thank you.