Orillia one step closer to ride-sharing as council approves recommendation for by-law

Orillia city council approved recommendations for a ride-sharing by-law at its meeting on July 19.
Orillia city council approved recommendations for a ride-sharing by-law at its meeting on July 19. Gene J. Puskar / The Canadian Press

The city of Orillia is one step closer to allowing ride-sharing services, like Uber, to operate in the city.

City council approved recommendations for a vehicle-for-hire by-law at the council meeting on Thursday.

According to a release issued by the city on Friday morning, after more than a year of research and public consultation, council has directed staff to finalize a by-law which, if ratified, would license and regulate ride-sharing programs and the taxi industry in a similar way.

“All members of council welcome Uber to Orillia with open arms. The focus of the city’s by-law is to deregulate some of the current requirements related to the taxi industry, while at the same time placing fair regulations on the ride-sharing industry,” Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke said in a statement. “This creates a more equal playing field to ensure companies can remain competitive in an evolving market and also preserves the safety of the travelling public.”

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The proposed by-law includes equal license fees for ride-sharing services and taxi companies, not individual licence fees for individual drivers, the elimination of regulated fares for the taxi industry and vulnerable sector checks as a requirement for new drivers.

“By modernizing regulations to the transportation industry, the public will have more choices when travelling within Orillia and transportation companies will have more flexibility to meet the shifting needs of the public,” manager of legislative services Shawn Crawford said in a statement.

Staff are now finalizing the vehicle-for-hire by-law and will present it to council for ratification on Aug. 16.

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