Ride-shar­ing moves a step closer

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE DEIBERT — With Saska­toon Starphoenix and Regina Leader-post files

Ride-shar­ing com­pa­nies such as Uber and Lyft will soon be al­lowed to op­er­ate in Saskatchewan al­though the fi­nal say on start­ing dates, rules and reg­u­la­tions will come from the cities.

Months af­ter un­veil­ing the Ve­hi­cles for Hire Act and tout­ing it as an­other tool to com­bat the high im­paired driv­ing num­bers in Saskatchewan, the prov­ince an­nounced Thurs­day that ride-shar­ing reg­u­la­tions have been ap­proved and will take ef­fect Dec. 14.

At that point, it will be up to the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to de­cide how and when ride-shares be­come re­al­ity.

The act gives mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­spon­si­bil­ity for is­su­ing li­cences, de­cid­ing how li­cences are al­lo­cated, and set­ting fees, rates or fares.

In Saska­toon, the city has said reg­u­la­tions will be in­tro­duced shortly af­ter the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion is fi­nal­ized.

The next sched­uled city coun­cil meet­ing at which a vote on the fi­nal by­law could be held is set for Dec. 17.

In Regina,a city spokes­woman said last week a re­port on pol­icy and by­laws would be sent once the prov­ince an­nounced its fi­nal leg­is­la­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince, rideshare drivers trans­port­ing pas­sen­gers will have the op­tion to use a com­mer­cial class li­cence or a Class 5 li­cence if they meet con­di­tions, among them a safe driv­ing record (in­clud­ing less than 12 points in the pre­vi­ous two years un­der the prov­ince’s driver im­prove­ment pro­gram), no sus­pen­sions re­lated to im­paired driv­ing in the pre­vi­ous decade, and be­ing at least two years re­moved from the grad­u­ated driver li­cens­ing pro­gram.

“Af­ter ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with nu­mer­ous stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing ride-share and taxi com­pa­nies, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and law en­force­ment, SGI has de­vel­oped a pro­vin­cial frame­work that strikes a good bal­ance be­tween pub­lic de­mand and safety,” Minister Re­spon­si­ble for SGI Joe Har­grave said in a state­ment.

MADD Canada re­gional man­ager Michelle Okere said in a state­ment that “Saskatchewan has some of the strong­est im­paired driv­ing leg­is­la­tion in the coun­try, but in ad­di­tion to hav­ing ef­fec­tive leg­is­la­tion and strong penal­ties, it is cru­cial to en­sure the avail­abil­ity of safe, con­ve­nient and re­li­able trans­porta­tion op­tions.”

The Saskatchewan Taxi Cab As­so­ci­a­tion on Thurs­day said it was “deeply dis­ap­pointed” with the leg­is­la­tion, call­ing it a “step back­wards for pub­lic safety.”

It ques­tioned why only a Class 5 li­cence will be re­quired for rideshare drivers, com­ing shortly af­ter safety reg­u­la­tions for com­mer­cial truck drivers were strength­ened. The STCA also noted that Uber and Lyft op­er­a­tors in Al­berta, Que­bec and Bri­tish Columbia re­quire Class 4 li­cences. Ac­cord­ing to the STCA, Saska­toon taxis “will not, un­der any cir­cum­stances,” re­quire less than a Class 4 li­cence, “re­gard­less of the prov­ince’s de­ci­sion.”

Taxi and limou­sine drivers will have the same driver’s li­cence op­tions as ride-share drivers, the prov­ince said.


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