City Working On Bylaw - Uber Responds

A look at Uber’s App - Photo Compliments Uber Canada

A look at Uber’s App - Photo Compliments Uber Canada

Nobody at City Hall can comment on IT officially. They cannot comment on exactly how IT is all going to work, nor exactly what in the end IT will look like as it is too early in the process. They simply know IT is coming and they are still working out the bugs. The only part missing in the puzzle is whether or not IT will be arriving in Moose Jaw and if so, when.

The IT is ride sharing. The most well known companies are Uber and Lyft although there are smaller regional players in the marketplace.

Ride sharing is where a person uses a phone app or a web-site to hail a ride.

The ride is booked through and paid by through the app. No money changes hands and the ride fair is calculated by various factors - such as availability, how busy and distance driven - in an algorithm to determine the final fare. Passengers are transported in private vehicles and it is generally not a location the driver was headed to. It is the passenger who dictates the destination.

Effective December 14, 2018 Ride Sharing has been legal in Saskatchewan so long as drivers and companies follow SGI’s regulations as well as any municipal approval. Municipalities may chose to set their own standards and requirements.

And IT, or rather the Bylaw and regulations is in the process of being drafted by Administration.

Exactly what will be in the proposed Bylaw and what input the local taxi and shuttle industry will be afforded in the entire process, if any, has yet to be decided.

Ride Sharing was adopted in Saskatchewan as a means to reduce the number of people driving impaired.

“After extensive consultation with numerous stakeholders – including Ride Share and taxi companies, municipalities and law enforcement – SGI has developed a provincial framework that strikes a good balance between public demand and safety,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said in a news release.

“Ride Sharing will provide Saskatchewan residents more ways to get around in the province, and another option for planning a safe ride home,” Hargrave is quoted in the release as saying.

The move into allowing ride sharing is supported by Mothers Against Drinking and Driving to allow sufficient number of rides home to potentially intoxicated people.

Ride Sharing drivers will be subject to a series of conditions from SGI.

They can either use a class 1 - 4 commercial drivers license or under certain conditions use a Class 5 license to transport passengers.

Those conditions include an annual criminal records check of the driver, an annual vehicle inspection, not a holder of a Graduated Drivers License (GDL), have two years clean driving experience post GDL, no driving impairment convictions in the last 10 years and have less than 12 points against their license for the last two years.

Additionally the Ride Share company must provide $1 million in insurance for all drivers and vehicles used.

But how will Ride Sharing work in Moose Jaw?

So far it is all in the draft stage. What is more, at the present time, the City does not have a Taxi Bylaw.

Administration has been working on a Taxi Bylaw for approximately two years, The last anything was said about the development of a new proposed Taxi Bylaw was referred back to Administration as the Special Needs Advisory Committee.

That Committee was involved in an effort to make sure there was sufficient number of disability accessible cabs available at all times.

At the January 14 regular meeting of Council Mayor Frasier Tolmie made note of the fact Uber does not set up in communities with a population of less than 50,000. Moose Jaw’s present population according to the 2016 Federal Census is just over 33,000.

At the present time Uber is focusing on developing the Saskatoon and Regina markets, according to the company.

“While we are always looking to bring the benefits of Ride Sharing to more Canadians, our focus in Saskatchewan is Saskatoon and Regina for now,” Jean Christophe de La Rue, Public Policy Manager for Uber in Canada told MJ Independent.

de La Rue would not speculate nor answer specific questions about the Moose Jaw market and what plans, if any, Uber had. We also asked questions in relation to the size of the Moose Jaw and there being, at last count, 14 taxi, shuttle and limo firms operating here.

An Uber driver with passengers - Photo Compliments Uber Canada

An Uber driver with passengers - Photo Compliments Uber Canada

An attempt to reach Ride Sharing rival Lyft did not receive a response.

At present Saskatoon has opened the door to Ride Sharing whereas Regina is experiencing resistance from that City’s taxi industry which has portrayed Ride Sharing as not on equal terms competitively, unsafe and a threat to the taxi industry.

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