Sure wish the media (and Uber) would refer to themselves correctly as 'ride-hailing' instead of ride-sharing. For clarification, check out Mel's excellent blog post: Carsharing, ridehailing, carpooling, ridematching, oh my! http://greenactioncentre.ca/healthy-travel/carsharing-ridehailing-carpooling-ridematching-oh-my/
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Taxicab board dissolved, municipalities to take control
Ride-sharing gets green light
IT’S official: Uber is on the way to Winnipeg.
Manitoba opened the door to ridesharing services such as Uber on Monday with the introduction of the Local Vehicles for Hire Act. It is enabling legislation that will allow municipalities to create bylaws to regulate them as they compete with the taxi industry.
The legislation will dissolve the Manitoba Taxicab Board, formerly the licensing and regulatory body governing the industry, and will pass off all of the responsibilities for the ride-forhire business onto municipalities.
The act covers limousines and other car services and includes those hired via online platforms. It is to come into force no later than Feb. 28, 2018.
Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke said the province will continue to work with the City of Winnipeg, but there has been no discussion about assisting the city with the cost of setting up such a regulatory system.
“The city will have the option to write their own bylaws, and we are not going to speculate at this time in what avenue they will take to modernize the business. We will work with them in a transition period to discuss what they want to do,” Clarke said.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he was caught unaware that the province would assign the taxicab board’s responsibilities to the city, but said he was excited at the prospect of ridesharing services coming to Winnipeg.
“I believe this is an opportunity for customers and the City of Winnipeg to be presented with new options and with innovation,” Bowman said. “We’ll review what they’ve (the province) proposed right now and we will have discussions with them.” All existing licences will remain valid and will transfer to a municipal licence when the city has its office in place.
Clarke said the province is not contemplating any compensation for current licence holders, some of whom have paid more than $200,000 for their licence on the secondary market.
Taxi drivers have been up in arms about the prospects of a ride-sharing business entering the market. Michael Diamond, a spokesman for the Winnipeg Taxi Alliance, a lobby group set up by dispatch companies Unicity and Duffy’s, was surprisingly calm Monday about the developments.
“We believe that if there is a level playing field, our members will be able to compete,” he said.
Clarke said it was well known changes were coming after the release of the MNP review of Winnipeg’s taxi industry in December, which was commissioned by the taxicab board.
That report recommended allowing ride-sharing services into the Winnipeg market. It also showed conclusively that Winnipeg is significantly under-serviced by the industry, with only one cab for every 1,252 people, compared with an average of one for every 860 people in other Canadian cities of comparable size.
Susie Heath, a spokeswoman for Uber Canada, said they will work closely with the city and the province.
“We hope to bring ride-sharingto Winnipeg soon so that Winnipeggers can benefit from another safe, reliable way to get around their city and a flexible income-earning opportunity,” she said.
The MNP report recommended adding 150 standard taxicab licences to the 410 currently issued, a number that has remained flat since 2008, although the city’s population has grown by seven per cent in that time period.
Uber already operates in several Canadian cities, including Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo, Ont.
The Silicon Valley corporation has become a global phenomenon. Uber operates in 81 countries and 581 cities.
— with files from Aldo Santin