Uber debate heats up at Saskatoon City Hall

Saskatoon's taxi industry and city councillors are at odds when it comes to allowing Uber to operate in the city, a city hall committee heard Tuesday.

Officials asked to come back with ideas on how to regulate ride-hailing service

Uber drivers have come to many cities around the world and controversy has often followed. (Eric Risberg/The Associated Press)

A Saskatoon city councillor says it won't be long before council has to make a decision about whether Uber should operate in the city.

Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill supports the controversial ride-hailing company but says more data needs to be gathered.

"Is Uber perfect? Absolutely not ... but neither is any other service provider for any industry," Hill said Tuesday.

"I'm hoping that administration is going to come back with some discussions on Uber or any other ride-share companies on how we can make it as perfect as possible for our city here in Saskatoon."

At a committee meeting on Tuesday, councillors and city administration heard from a number of taxi representatives who expressed their concerns over allowing Uber to operate in Saskatoon.

Carlo Triolo, the general manager for United Group, made it clear he does not want Uber operating in the city. 

"They're currently banned and illegal in more cities and countries than they are legal," said Triolo. "It speaks for itself."

Saskatoon City Councillor Darren Hill. (David Shield/CBC News)

Hill repeatedly questioned the speakers representing the taxi industry throughout the meeting.

"It's not unlike a number of the things I've heard in other municipalities," Hill said.

"Technology is changing, the way our citizens use services, is changing. We need to be flexible and adjust with those changes."

Saskatoon's city administration will report back to the committee in the coming weeks.

Hill said there is no timeline for the Uber issue to reach city council but said the timing of any decision could become an election issue this fall.


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