The Vehicle for Hire Act has passed, paving the road for ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft to rev up their engines in Saskatchewan. However, there are still regulatory pit stops before they can hit the road.
Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said it costs about $5,000 to insure a taxi for the year. People who want to be ride sharers won’t pay that much for extra insurance, but will be charged on a sliding scale. Basically, the more you drive the more you pay.
“All the apps of all the ride share companies, they have to report their data to SGI. That’s how that’ll be determined. We’ll be tracking that. We have the right to audit all those apps, all that information and we’ll be doing that,” Hargrave said.
“Somebody requests a ride on the app, boom the clock starts.”
Hargrave added that it is unknown whether these insurance kilometres will be tracked on a monthly basis. That will be determined through consultation with ride sharing companies and SGI.
Riding sharing apps will also be subject to random SGI audits to ensure trip tracking is accurate.
“We want to make sure that one, we get the right insurance rates for everybody and we’re trying to make the playing field as level as possible for the taxi association and for the ride share people,” Hargrave said.
The Saskatchewan Taxi Cab Association (STCA) said they appreciate the insurance measures being put forward in the legislation and feel it does level the playing field.
The STCA said they are also encouraged by the need for ride share drivers to get criminal background checks, similar to cab drivers, and need for all drivers to hold a class 4 license.
The need to fully establish insurance regulations has companies like Lyft pumping the brakes on an immediate start up. However, Lyft public policy manager Matt Patton said they are ready to work with the province and SGI.
“We’re pleased also to work with municipalities and SGI throughout the rest of the process to determine how best we can serve drivers and passengers,” he said.
Patton had no hard date for when Lyft plans on beginning Saskatchewan operations, but intend on starting in Regina and Saskatoon. They are also looking at expanding to smaller communities down the road.
In addition to these regulations, the legislation leaves rooms for municipalities to introduce their own ride sharing bylaws.