Ride-sharing companies one step closer to getting green light in Halifax

Halifax is moving closer to allowing ride-sharing companies to operate within the municipality.The region's transportation committee has approved a staff recommendation to allow the services — with conditions. On Thursday, the committee discussed a report on what regulations and fees would be needed."There is a high demand for ride-sharing services from residents," said Hilary Hayes, an municipal supervisor."Regulating them could provide people an alternative and flexible mode of transportation."A member of a volunteer group called HRM Ride Hail spoke in favour of the move."The service provided by taxi companies in Halifax has been abysmal," said Joachim Stroink. "This report represents an opportunity for change and significantly improve choices for citizens."Safety measuresDrivers who work for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft would have to have a criminal background check and a vulnerable sector check.A lobbyist for Uber made a presentation to the committee and argued against the vulnerable sector check."Most of our drivers are very part-time," explained Kim Wright. "It becomes onerous and a barrier to entry."Wright told the committee a vulnerable person check for ride-sharing drivers is no longer required in Toronto.Coun. Sam Austin said he believes the industry should have even more safety measures. He pointed to recent reports about the number of assaults that have taken place during Uber rides in the United States."It's disheartening," said Austin. "Anyone who thinks you can't be assaulted in an Uber car or Lyft car, that's clearly not the case." Ride-sharing companies would be charged a $25,000 annual fee also have to pay 20 cents per ride. Seven cents of the per ride fee would go toward accessible transit and accessible taxis.  The report will now go to regional council for further debate and a final vote.  MORE TOP STORIES

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