Proposed city law for ride-sharing companies to set up and operate in Regina could be brought forth in just a matter of months.
Mayor Michael Fougere believes a bylaw will be introduced before the end of 2018 at the latest, thinking it could come in the fall or, at the earliest, sometime this summer.
While the mayor indicated a bylaw was being worked on, he said there are a lot of steps that have to be taken before any kind of regulations are cemented, allowing companies like Uber or Lyft to establish themselves in the Queen City. Part of that includes having more in-depth consultations with both the taxi industry and residents.
“We’re not here to change the industry, to get rid of an industry, we’re here to promote and talk about another service that the public appears to want,” said the mayor.
“The idea behind this is to provide an alternative for residents who have been saying they’d like to have ride-share and we’ll do what we can to make sure that we make them competitive with the taxi industry but they don’t take them over.”
The minister responsible for SGI said this week that the province would be passing ride-sharing legislation next week. It will then be up to individual municipalities to draft and pass their own bylaws. In Regina’s case, any proposed law would first be introduced and discussed on a committee level before it would move on to city council for a final vote.
There are a number of different areas the city will look at in terms of regulating ride-sharing, but at the end of the day, Fougere said it’s about equality.
“For ride-sharing, they should be treated, as much as possible, in the same way as taxis with respect to licensing and background checks and those kinds of things.”
Cab drivers in Saskatchewan have repeatedly called for a level playing field in terms of trying to compete against ride-sharing services.
Representatives from Uber have previously stated the company intends to expand into both Regina and Saskatoon once the law allows them to.