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Uber Canada open to serving Warman and Martensville

WATCH ABOVE: Before ride-hailing becomes a reality in Saskatchewan, municipalities need to enact bylaws allowing the service, placing two cities in an interesting position because of their proximity to Saskatoon.

With Saskatchewan’s Vehicles for Hire Act taking effect Friday, Uber Canada is considering including communities like Warman and Martensville in their service area.

While provincial regulations around ride-hailing were released last week, municipalities in Saskatchewan still need to pass local bylaws enabling the businesses.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan rideshare rules take effect Dec. 14, pending municipal bylaws

“We are open to including nearby communities in the Saskatoon ansd Regina regions in the initial service areas subject to appropriate bylaws being in place,” Uber Canada spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said in an email.

Uber’s most immediate focus is on working with Regina and Saskatoon city councils to develop regulations around the service, de Le Rue said.

“Beyond that, we are open to additional discussion about how ridesharing technology can reduce impaired driving in other Saskatchewan municipalities,” he said.

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Martensville city council finalized its ride-hailing bylaw Tuesday after consultation with companies who offer the service, according to Mayor Kent Muench.

“We know that Martensville isn’t the primary market, so we wanted to get out in front of it and be proactive,” Muench said.

With regulations in place, Muench hopes to see ride-hailing available in Martensville at the same time companies bring operations to Saskatoon.

Warman city staff are expected to present proposed rules to city council in January. Martensville’s bylaws will be used as a template, said Brad Toth, Warman’s manager of planning and development.

“We’re hoping for a regional lens,” Toth said, saying ride-hailing could connect Warman, Martensville and Saskatoon.

READ MORE: Insurance pit stops still exist on road to Sask. ride sharing

Lyft, an Uber competitor, didn’t name any specific communities in the province for its launch.

“We look forward to working with municipalities to bring Lyft to Saskatchewan as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement.

Regina city council won’t be able to discuss its ride-hailing bylaws until early 2019, according to Mayor Michael Fougere.

Saskatoon city council is scheduled to vote on its regulations Dec. 17.

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With files from David Baxter

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