Nova Scotia

N.S. government makes licensing change for taxi, ride-hailing services

Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says it's changing some licensing rules for taxis and ride-hailing services. This comes after Halifax regional council recently approved changes to allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the municipality.

Move follows Halifax regional council's approval to allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate

Halifax regional council recently approved changes to allow ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in the municipality. (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

The Nova Scotia government is changing the licensing rules to reduce costs and "administrative burdens" for taxi and ride-hailing services.

"We have been working on this for some time," Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said Thursday, "and meeting with the ride-hailing companies."

On Tuesday, Halifax regional council approved changes that will allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in the municipality. But officials with Uber said the ball was in the province's court when it comes to the requirements of a Class 4 licence.

The response from the transportation minister, two days later, involves the creation of a restricted Class 4 licence that will not require a road-and-knowledge test. That will save people a $68 retesting fee.

All other requirements for a Class 4 license, including a medical assessment, will remain.

"It keeps the playing field even," said Hines. "And I believe seven out of 10 provinces have a similar process."

A standard Class 4 license to drive an ambulance or small bus will still require the knowledge-and-road test.

The new regulations take effect immediately.

Uber, Lyft respond

A spokesperson for Uber said the company is pleased with the decision.

"Uber thanks Premier [Stephen] McNeil, Minister Hines, Mayor [Mike] Savage, and HRM Council for their leadership and work on these issues over the past year," they said in an email. "And we look forward to sharing more about our local plans with Haligonians in the very near future."

In an email, a spokesperson for Lyft said the move represents "a milestone to help get ridesharing in the great province of Nova Scotia."

"It is clear residents want additional transportation options and we are exploring our options for bringing Lyft to more communities in Canada in the future," the email said.

Neither spokesperson provided a date for when the services would be coming to Nova Scotia.

The leader of the Official Opposition, Tim Houston, said in an email that the government's decision "is long overdue" and that "Nova Scotia is catching up with the rest of the world by taking steps to allow ride-sharing and ride-hailing services."

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