Ride sharing legislation passes in Winnipeg

Winnipeg taxi cab.
Winnipeg taxi cab. Global News/ File

Ride sharing legislation that could pave the way for Uber to come to Winnipeg was passed early Friday morning.

Bill 30 will dissolve the Manitoba Taxicab Board and give the board’s authority to local municipalities, which could develop by-laws to allow for ride-sharing companies like Uber.

The Conservative government says the law won’t go into effect until March 1, 2018.

RELATED: Next step in allowing ride sharing services in Manitoba starts Monday night

But not everyone is excited about the possibility of ride sharing in the province. Friday, the taxi industry held a rally to express their frustration over the changes to the city’s taxi system.

350 cabs circled the Manitoba Legislative Building and City Hall before a meeting with Mayor Brain Bowman on Friday.

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Duffy’s Taxi vice president Jaspal Bedi said most of the talks revolved around safety — something he said is more important to cab drivers than business or financial gain.

“We’re raising the bar for safety,” Bedi said. “It should be the same for ride sharing. Our number one priority is safety.”

“They say you get what you pay for. If you get jumped in a cab, you are protected head to toe.”

Bedi expressed frustrations Friday over the plan to bring in ride sharing; pointing to driver shields, security cameras, and current protocol required to receive a cab license. Drivers must undergo an 80-hour training course, criminal background check, and a child abuse registry check before they hit the road.

READ MORE: Cab drivers worried about Uber pack Winnipeg city hall

But a spokesperson from Uber Canada told Global News that their potential drivers must meet similar tests before signing up for their ride sharing application as well.

The Public Policy manager for Canada, Chris Schafer, said Uber drivers undergo annual criminal background checks, as well as vehicle inspections and motor vehicle references checks.

Schafer said the fact that Uber drivers aren’t anonymous and that they don’t take cash sets them apart from cab drivers, who are harder to track.

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In their meeting, the taxi industry said they urged Bowman to impose identical safety measures in both ride sharing cars and taxis.

As of Friday, any upcoming changes to ride sharing regulations are up to municipal governments.