Lyft has told the Government of Saskatchewan that a launch in the province is nearly impossible due to existing license requirements.
Prashanthi Raman, Lyft’s public policy director, said the problem stems from the fact that the province requires potential drivers to have a class 4 license, while the basic Saskatchewan license is a class 5.
While the province passed the Vehicles for Hire Act in May, some insurance specifics need to be determined before ridesharing companies can get started. Even with the act, though, Raman said the class 4 requirement is incredibly prohibiting.
“It does make it nearly impossible for us to launch [in Saskatchewan],” Raman wrote in a letter to Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Government Insurance. “Over 90 percent of our drivers in North America actually drive less than 20 hours per week.
So they’re everyday people, like you and me, who are just trying to make ends meet. When you add an additional onerous requirement of a class 4 license it really precludes individuals, who are not chauffeurs for their livelihood, preventing them from economic opportunity.”
In response, Hargrave told Global News that the class 4 license requirement is in place to ensure passenger safety and keep a level playing field with the taxi industry.“SGI is willing to work with them on some of the medical things and tests, compensate them somewhat for that,” Hargrave said. “We think it’s too bad that [Lyft] feels that way, but we’re still going to work them.”
Ontario is the only province Lyft currently operates in, following an initial launch in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area in December.