Draft Taxi And Ride Sharing Bylaws Gaining Momentum

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There may not be a Taxi Bylaw and a Ride Sharing Bylaw at the present time but a conference call with Uber Canada was like like spraying ether into an engine’s intake to rapidly fire up the process.

In discussing the draft taxi bylaw Director of Planning Michelle Sanson said Administration had examined the issue and were recommending an approach to not only keep all present taxi firms open - estimated at 16 - and also allow ride sharing to operate in the city.

As part of the process the draft bylaw would not require taxi companies to operate 24 hours a day. Forcing companies to operate 24/7 could mean the closure of single vehicle taxi companies. Additionally the City was not looking at regulating fees and tariffs charged at the present time.

Things like GPS and cameras were seen as potentially cost prohibitive for smaller operations and therefore not required in the draft bylaw, she said.

A good portion of the City’s requirements would be met under the proposed provincial Vehicles For Hire Act where such things as annual criminal record checks and annual vehicle inspections would be handled under new rules from SGI.

The Rideshare Bylaw would closely follow Regina’s but leave out the required accessibility fee of seven cents per trip. The accessibility fee in Regina is being used to help purchase new additions to the City of Regina’s paratransit fleet.

Councilor Dawn Luhning stated she had no problem with the Ride Sharing Bylaw.

She would mention a comment attributed to Uber in a conference call.

“He (Uber Canada) did comment to Mr Puffalt why does it have to be so difficult.”

Councillor Scott McMann, who is Council’s representative on the Special Needs Advisory Committee, warned proper process had to be followed.

McMann spoke about how it was important “people with disabilities and special needs aren’t prejudiced in pricing.”

“We have to follow our process and not go gung ho because a couple of people want this,” McMann stated adding the Special Needs Advisory Committee had not been consulted and there next meeting was in three days time and the issue was not yet on their agenda.

On Thursday evening the Special Needs Advisory Committee would recommend potentially instituting such a fee. SEE Committee Recommends

Councillor Brian Swanson said the best way to insure the Taxi Bylaw was adopted was to do what is already being done and just stay out of regulating taxis. Presently there is no Taxi Bylaw and firms can establish their own rates and other operating procedures.

“The quickest way to get this done is to get municipal government out of it,” Councillor Swanson stated.

He went on to speak how he was once a member of the Special Needs Advisory Committee and empathsized but at the same time charging the same for able bodied and non-able bodied people could force private operators out of that aspect of the business. He said it was because it often too much longer to load passengers with disabilities and companies should be able to charge more based upon the added effort and time involved.

“If they cannot charge more all we do is to create there is no private operators for us.”

Councillor Luhning questioned why the bylaw had to be so difficult especially the draft Ride Share Bylaw. A bylaw authorizing ride sharing companies to operate must be approved for a ride sharing company to operate in any municipality under Provincial legislation.

“Why does our bylaw have to be so difficult the Uber contact said today we do everything the Province takes care of that,” she said.

Councillor Luhning would go on to address Councillor McMann’s statement about the process.

“I am not trying to cut out the Special Needs Advisory Committee I am 100 percent not (doing that).”

Councillor Luhning has been a big supporter of ride sharing moving into the Moose Jaw market asking Administration over the last few Council meetings the process on the Ride Sharing Bylaw.

Councillor Chris Warren mentioned holding some type of consultation to get feedback with the taxi industry.

Under the draft bylaw there will be a $125 taxi cab license per operator and a driver’s photo permit costing $50.

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