Go­ing for a ride

Seaway News - - Opinion - NICK SEEBRUCH nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

Last week, the Corn­wall Po­lice Ser­vices Board heard that one in­di­vid­ual had been charged with vi­o­lat­ing the High­way Traf­fic Act and Corn­wall’s Taxi by-law for op­er­at­ing a ride shar­ing ser­vice. In my opin­ion, in­stead of fo­cus­ing on stamp­ing out ser­vices like these, the City of Corn­wall needs to pre­pare to live in a world where these types of busi­nesses are a fact of life.

Over the past five plus years, we’ve seen ride share com­pa­nies like Uber and Lyft form in Cana­dian cities like Ot­tawa, Van­cou­ver and Mon­treal and each time, lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have dealt with the is­sue in dif­fer­ent ways. Ot­tawa chose to fight Uber, at least at first. Ot­tawa po­lice started to give out tick­ets to Uber driv­ers, but they weren’t de­terred. Ot­tawa coun­cil did not ad­dress the con­cerns of their taxi com­pa­nies, and they wit­nessed dis­rup­tions for months on end. Ul­ti­mately, af­ter all that strug­gle, Uber op­er­ates in the City of Ot­tawa to­day.

In the fall of 2017, the prov­ince of Que­bec. stood up to Uber and en­acted reg­u­la­tions un­der which driv­ers must un­dergo 35 hours of train­ing, just like taxi driv­ers. The com­pany threated to leave the prov­ince if these reg­u­la­tions were en­acted, but the prov­ince did not back down. Uber blinked, and they still op­er­ate in Que­bec.

The City of Corn­wall can learn les­sons from fights other gov­ern­ments have had with ride shar­ing ser­vices. Would be en­trepreneurs will not be de­terred by tick­ets, it needs to be Corn­wall City Coun­cil that deals with the is­sue and not the Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Po­lice Ser­vice. Tech­nol­ogy makes it easy to form busi­nesses along the Uber model. Coun­cil needs to up­date and re­vise the City’s taxi by-law. These new e- based busi­nesses need to be prop­erly reg­u­lated.

The rea­son why the taxi by-law ex­ists in the first place is for pub­lic safety. These busi­nesses will keep on pop­ping up whether lo­cal taxi ser­vices, the CCPS, or the City of Corn­wall like it. It is coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to make the rules and en­sure that these busi­nesses ex­ist and op­er­ate in a way that is safe for the pub­lic.

In form­ing this new by-law, coun­cil needs to not only en­sure pub­lic safety, but also reg­u­late the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in which this com­pa­nies work. In a city look­ing to grow ride shar­ing ser­vices or busi­nesses like them could be a new and im­por­tant part of Corn­wall’s econ­omy.

As for the taxi ser­vices, I am a strong be­liever in the free mar­ket, and I be­lieve that taxi com­pa­nies will be able to evolve and re­main com­pet­i­tive. For con­sumers, this is a win-win.

What do you think read­ers? I want to hear from you. Send me a Let­ter to the Edi­tor with your thought at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

Tim Houle Auto Talk

Win­ter tires are im­por­tant for keep­ing you safe on the road dur­ing the hazardous con­di­tions of snowy and icy roads. But as the snow starts to melt and the days get warmer, you might start think­ing about switch­ing back to all-sea­son or sum­mer tires. Be­fore you make the switch, here are some fac­tors that can in­flu­ence your tim­ing.

It’s safe to re­move your win­ter tires once the av­er­age daily high is above 5 C and the risk of snow or frost has passed. Keep an eye on the av­er­ages in your area and take a look at the long range fore­cast be­fore switch­ing out. Late spring snow­fall isn’t un­usual in many parts of Canada, so be pre­pared; En­vi­ron­ment Canada can give you the in­for­ma­tion you need.

Re­mem­ber that black ice isn’t vis­i­ble, so the tem­per­a­ture is an im­por­tant fac­tor in en­sur­ing you are safe on the road.

Be­fore you take them off, you should know where you’re go­ing to put them. Im­proper stor­age of your win­ter tires can lead to dam­age that will shorten their life­span. Ask around;

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