Technology has changed the way we live, work and get around.
Ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, have become increasingly popular in recent years, but they’ve also created an unequal situation in the Kingston, Ont., market because, unlike taxis, they aren’t regulated.
After five years of operating in Kingston, the City is looking to step in and impose regulations.
“This is a chance for the city to step forward and to work with ridesharing platforms to be able to put rules and regulations in place that makes sense for consumers, ensure the safety of riders, but also create a platform where people can choose whether to take a taxi or ridesharing,” said Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson.
Two years ago, the Kingston Area Taxi Commission embarked upon an unsuccessful attempt to regulate ride-sharing services. A bylaw was completed by the commission but was put on hold before it even went into effect for a legal review.
“We’ve been at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the ridesharing community. So, as a result of this and the city’s input, it looks as though we may be moving forward,” said Jim Allan, the chair of the Kingston Area Taxi Commission.
On Tuesday night, an eight-page report from the city’s CAO, Lanie Hurdle, will go to council outlining the need to implement rules for ride-hailing operators.
The report also provides examples of regulations enforced in cities such as nearby Ottawa.
“We are going to be analyzing these best practices and trying to come up with what would work best locally here,” said Hurdle.
When Uber was asked about the prospect of working with the municipality to enforce regulations, the ridesharing juggernaut responded quickly, saying:
“We are encouraged to learn that the City of Kingston is moving towards a permanent solution that ensures safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options continue to be available across the region to those who need it.”
As for Allan, he hopes the regulations will bring equity to the Kingston-area transportation industry.
“You have to walk before you can before you can run. We’re starting to run,” said Allan.
“We want employment equity. We want fairness in the industry.”