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CAO says ride-sharing will come to Halifax, people just have to be patient
People in Halifax hoping to see ride-hailing services like Uber in the city are being told they'll get their wish -- but they'll have to be patient.
That message is from the municipality's chief administrative officer, who earlier seemed to suggest that Uber wasn't ready to come to Halifax.
Steve Parker is a charter member of a citizen's group dedicated to bringing ride-hailing services like Uber to Halifax.
It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing.
"We're every day, average citizens who have had experience with Uber in other locations, whether through pleasure or for work," Parker says. "We all believe in this city, and we all believe in this service, that there's no reason it shouldn't be here."
It's an idea that's been tossed around for years, and city staff have been methodically working on a report to study all the implications.
The document was supposed to be ready in November, but it's being delayed by several months.
At least one councillor suspects the taxi lobby is making things difficult.
"I guess it's part of the whole taxi industry, and we're trying to protect these taxi jobs at the expense of 400,000 HRM residents that need better service," said Matt Whitman.
Further complicating matters was a comment from the city's top administrator, suggesting Uber wasn't ready to come into the Halifax market.
Uber denies that, telling CTV News: "We're always open to having conversations with municipal governments. Earlier this month we sat down with the city and staff to discuss potential ridesharing in Halifax, and we are expecting that conversation to continue."
Halifax CAO Jacques Dube insists the process is moving along, and ride-sharing is all but inevitable in HRM.
The worst case, he says, would be bringing it in without the proper regulations in place.
"Hopefully, by this time next year, ride hailing will be in force in HRM," Dube said.
None of this is moving fast enough for Parker and his citizens group.
He wants to make sure Halifax gets in to the ride-hailing game before the ship has sailed.
"It doesn't matter if it's Uber or if it's Lyft," Parker says. "Montreal has a plethora of companies that are doing the same thing."
No matter who's to blame for Uber's absence in Halifax, it's clear ride-sharing won't be making an appearance in the city any time this summer.
The city says the final report that many people have been waiting for won't be ready until early next year -- long after the tourists are gone.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.