Regulators warn of Kijiji rideshare offers
Online classifieds website Kijiji has become a source for those looking to share rides across Canada, but regulators warn that hopping into a stranger's car and paying money comes with risks.
Kijiji shows people all over Canada offering and looking for rides, for a price.
Ardath Whynot drives people between Halifax and Montreal, where she's completing her Ph.D.
"When the trains started running less and less and Acadian Lines shut down, I decided I would take my own vehicle. It was better for the environment and just a more exciting trip if I took some passengers," she said.
Whynot charges her passengers around $100 per trip.
"I rarely cover costs and I usually have to kick in extra for gas myself," Whynot said, "If I do make extra over and beyond than I normally donate that to the dog shelter that I drive for."
Hopping into the passenger seat of a car and giving some money for gas is not illegal. However, when people turn that into a business and begin making a profit, some bylaw officers take note.
Under the Motor Vehicle Act, drivers need a special licence if they are driving to make money.
Without a special licence from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, drivers can avoid routine inspections and record checks.
Kevin Hindle, with Halifax's bylaw enforcement, said there is a concern that private drivers are masquerading as taxis.
"I just caution the public, if you are going on Kijiji and you see services that are reduced and the person doesn't have in the ad that they're properly licensed and they can not prove that, I would think twice about getting into the car," Hindle said.
He said policing is difficult given Kijiji is anonymous. However, the city does have a legal arsenal including fines, penalties and law enforcement on their side.