Nova Scotia will make an announcement about ride-hailing services on Wednesday — likely opening or closing the door on Uber or Lyft operating in the province.
There’s no indication on the content of the announcement but it comes after a protracted debate in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) over introducing the companies, which the municipality calls Transportation Networking Companies (TNC).
Part of the motion also directed the mayor to write a letter to the provincial government requesting amendments to Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act that would give the municipality the power to charge TNCs a per-trip fee.
A major sticking point in the debate was the need for a provision that would permit TNC drivers to have a basic Class 5 licence rather than a more specialized Class 4 licence, the same as taxi drivers in the province.
The minimum requirements for a Class 4 licence include:
- Being at least 18 years old
- One year’s experience as a graduate (or Class 5) licence holder
- Providing “satisfactory medical and optical reports” when applying and at designated periods afterwards
- Successfully demonstrate driving ability in a Class 4 vehicle.
Staff had originally recommended that a Class 5 licence would be appropriate for TNC drivers, but the motion was changed after a 9-to-8 vote for an amendment proposed by Coun. Paul Russell.
TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft have told Global News that if the province were to require their drivers to have a Class 4 licence then it would hinder, if not outright halt, their entrance into the HRM.
This is despite the two companies operating in Calgary and B.C., which require Class 4 licences.
Halifax councillors had stressed that the ball was now in the province’s court on whether they’d conform to the municipality’s request and Wednesday’s address may be the Government of Nova Scotia’s response.
The province has confirmed to Global News that Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines will be the only one speaking at the announcement on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Old Brewery Market Courtyard on Lower Water Street.
They could not confirm whether municipal officials or advocates would be in attendance.