Halifax supports ride-sharing companies, but with same conditions as taxis
HALIFAX -- If residents were expecting ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft to come to Halifax, they still may be in for a long wait.
Council actually supports their eventual arrival, but some think the licensing requirements may be a deal-breaker.
After the most recent council meeting, it appeared Uber and Lyft were getting the green light to set up in Halifax.
"Staff have been directed by council to begin making amendments to the municipality's bylaw," said Halifax spokesperson Brynn Budden.
Potential bylaw changes would require provincial approval and would mean Uber and Lyft would be charged 20 cents per trip every time they had a customer.
Council also decided drivers would require a Class 4 licence, just like taxi and bus drivers.
Class 4 requirements for professional drivers include:
- Criminal record and vulnerable sector checks
- Language testing
- A winter driving course
- Certification from the Tourism Association of Nova Scotia
Uber and Lyft want the province to change the law, but Casino Taxi president Brian Herman likes the rules as they stand.
"Those checks and balances were put in place to protect the public who are trusting that individual operator to make sure they have the skillset to be able to do that," Herman said.
Herman says Casino Taxi has been in business for almost 100 years.
If his company supports a Class 4 licence regulation, so too should Uber and Lyft, he says.
"If the municipality or the province is looking to remove regulations that were originally put in place to keep people safe, I think that sets a bad precedent," Herman said.
Halifax Regional Coun. Matt Whitman says HRM taxis can't keep up with the current demand for rides and expanding the transportation industry would be a big improvement for the city.
Representatives from Uber say their drivers are usually part-time -- not full-time drivers – and asking them to get the Class 4 certification, which could take up to two years, is a barrier and means fewer people will become Uber drivers.