Halifax council defers debate on allowing ride-share apps
Halifax regional council was looking at a motion that could introduce ride-sharing apps like Uber to the city, but a vote on the motion was deferred - but not without a debate.
Coun. Matt Whitman brought the motion forward, and he thinks Halifax Regional Municipality is already behind the times when it comes to this technology.
But some people have mixed feelings about the apps -- specifically, cab and limo drivers, who aren't feeling very welcoming.
“The airport where I work, my drivers sit out there for six to eight hours to get one fare,” says owner Chrissy McDow, the owner of Lady Drive Her, a female-led airport shuttle.“So, if buddy's on the plane calling an Uber car, guess what? All those cars that are sitting out there, they're going to sit out there a lot longer than six hours.”
McDow says the Halifax region just doesn't have enough passengers to make room for like Uber or Lyft and it could cause cab drivers to be out of work.
“Let the market decide if it's good for Halifax or not,” he said.
Halifax-area taxis have been in the public eye lately and not for good reason.
Cabbie Bassam Al-Rawi was recently retried over allegations of sexual assault in his cab in May 2015.
Whitman says apps aren't a guarantee of safety, but there are other measures in place.
“With the Uber driver, you know who's coming in advance, where with a taxi driver, if you flag him down on the street, you might not know what you're getting,” Whitman said. “With an Uber driver, you always know whose Uber you are in, you know the ratings, you know how to find them the next day if there was an issue.”
As for passengers, there is interest, especially from people who have used the apps before.
The motion was deferred until a Feb. 5 report from the transportation committee.
That report is supposed to look into public transportation in the city, but staff say it will also address what council could do if they want to go forward with apps like Uber and Lyft.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.