New Brunswick gives green light to ride-sharing services in province
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick has given the green light to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in the province.
“Ride-sharing will provide New Brunswickers more choices and flexibility in accessing transportation,” said new legislation published Thursday by the New Brunswick government.
The legislation sets the standard for drivers and vehicles in the province.
Municipal or local governments would be required to create bylaws that set parameters for the vehicle-for-hire services.
But not everyone is on board with the idea. Some New Brunswick taxi companies wonder what it will mean for their business.
“I find it odd that they want to support local, yet they are pushing other companies from outside to come in and take over the market, for which there has been problems in other areas. Not just in this country, but in the entire world,” says George Youssef, the co-owner of Checker Cab in Fredericton.
Some people are concerned about local cab businesses.
“Like in New York for instance, when the taxi drivers were revolting over the fact that they were not happy that they were losing business,” says Maurice Bosse.
But others are still interested in having more options to hail a ride locally.
“Very convenient,” says Fredericton resident Marlene Colbourne. “There’s no exchange of money, you know exactly when they’re coming on the app, you just follow them. Whether you’ve got five more minutes or five more seconds, you know exactly how long it’s going to take for them to get there.”
New Brunswick is following the road that Nova Scotia recently went down, after it changed its legislation earlier this month to allow ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to operate in the province.
“Our bylaw was changed on Nov. 1, which allowed any transportation networking companies to officially apply to the municipality to begin to operate at this time. We’ve received two applications, and those applications are still being negotiated,” says Maggie-Jane Spray, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Ride-sharing companies that want to hit the Halifax streets will have to pay an annual fee ranging between $2,000 for up to 10 vehicles operating and $25,000 for 100 or more cars.
Drivers will have to have a minimum of three years' experience and pass a criminal and child abuse registry check.
In September, Nova Scotia introduced a "modernized" Class 4 licence that "no longer requires taxi or potential ride hail drivers to retake the road and knowledge tests,” and will save them the $68 testing fee.
Spray says Halifax is hoping to have rideshare app services operating by the end of next year, while New Brunswick still has a long road ahead before rideshare apps arrive at their destination.