After being pushed out of Mississauga just weeks ago, Waterloo may be about to legalize the world’s most widely used and most controversial ride-sharing service, Uber.
A new bylaw concerning “traditional and non-traditional” taxis services was finalized by Waterloo’s Licensing and Hearing committee yesterday, meaning that Uber could be officially legalized in the region. According to the press release sent out by the Region of Waterloo today, the bylaw will likely pass in August, 2016 with implementation in October, 2016.
“Approval of the recommendations means we can move forward and finalize the bylaw. Drivers, owners and brokers will now have a similar license structure that achieves public safety and consumer protection,” said Jane Mitchell, regional councillor and chair of the licensing and hearings committee in the release.
The document goes on to state that the recommendations, derived from a variety of public input methods, make the bylaw more balanced for all vehicles for hire. These will include new licensing standards, a fair rate structure for both taxicabs, app-based companies and vehicles for hire, a requirement of cameras in all taxis until they can meet similar requirements with an application, consistent documentation, driver screening and vehicle requirements for all drivers and consistent insurance structures for both traditional taxis and other transportation companies.
Highlights of the new taxi bylaw appear to make the attempt to level the playing field for taxis and non-traditional transportation companies by placing additional operating requirements on companies like Uber.
Taxis and ride-sharing companies will share a single set of insurance regulations, and driving and vehicle standards. Furthermore, all vehicles for hire will need to provide at least $2 million in liability coverage and will need to prove that this coverage is available to customers.
While the requirement of cameras inside taxicabs is still being debated, the CBC reports that taxi companies would like to see cameras also required for non-traditional transportation companies.
The release goes on to state that the region recognizes the prominence of new technologies, and that they’ll only become more prominent as technology becomes more advanced.
“Our priority throughout the process was to ensure passenger safety and consumer protection,” said Kris Fletcher, regional clerk and director of council services in a statement sent to MobileSyrup.
“The recommendations for the new bylaw will provide you with a safe ride regardless of the method you choose.”
Related reading: Mississauga gives Uber one week to shut down operations in the city
Source: Region of Waterloo