Saskatchewan

Regina scopes out licence regulations for ride-hailing companies

Regina isn't looking to put a cap on the number of people allowed to drive for transportation network companies (TNCs).

City committee recommends licensing company to operate rather than individual licences

Two ride-hailing companies, Uber and Lyft, didn't know when they would start operating in Saskatchewan. (Julia Page/CBC)

The City of Regina has released their recommendations on how to license transportation network companies (TNCs) in the city. 

Here's what's included in the proposed framework:

  • Having a single licence for each company which varies in price depending on how many vehicles drive for each company.
  • No caps on how many vehicles can operate within this framework.
  • No minimum fare.
  • No cameras required in TNC vehicles.
  • Trip data be kept and submitted to the city.

If a company operates one to 10 vehicles, their annual licence fee would be $2,500 plus additional per-trip fees of $0.27. If they operate 11 to 50 vehicles, the fee would be $12,000 per year with the same added fees per trip. If they operate 51 or more vehicles, their annual fee would be $25,000 plus the per-trip fees.

The province's Vehicles for Hire Act came into effect on Dec. 14, 2018. It says people can drive for ride-hailing companies with a "restricted" Class 5 licence — the standard licence for smaller personal vehicles — provided they meet "certain conditions," or a commercial licence. The city isn't including additional restrictions in their recommendation.

All this is scheduled to go before the city's Executive Committee Wednesday and then council later in the month.

The city has hired a full-time equivalent employee who will be responsible for implementing the recommendations in the report and for managing regulatory requirements. The licensing fees are supposed to help cover that cost.

There are some differences between Regina's proposal and the rules recently ratified in Saskatoon, which include a minumum ride fee of $3.75.

Lyft provided an emailed statement on Regina's proposal. It reads in part: "We are pleased with the regulations passed by the Government of Saskatchewan and the proposal introduced by the City of Regina ... We hope Regina's City Council will follow the lead of the province so that Lyft may serve its citizens as soon as possible."

An Uber spokesperson also emailed a statement. It reads in part: "Uber is excited about the potential to bring ridesharing to Regina ... Having more options, like ridesharing can help reduce impaired driving. We agree with the vast majority of Regina residents who want ridesharing to be part of the solution."

Impact on taxis

Data from cities that have had TNCs for a few years shows taxi companies could suffer a 30 to 40 per cent loss of the market share, according to Ray Mundy, Director Emeritus at Centre for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri. Mundy has worked with both Regina and Saskatoon on taxi regulation.

Mundy said he doesn't believe this is the end of taxis forever.

"They're going to have a very tough time and their numbers may be reduced, but the taxi industry will survive," he said. 

He said taxis will adapt to the new market and maybe even open TNC divisions of their own, sending a private car to provide service to some calls that come through their call centre.

The value of taxi medallions or licences will go down, Mundy said. 

Taxi associations have expressed disappointment in the provincial regulations with regards to safety and the type of license TNC drivers have to have vs what taxi drivers have to have.

With files from David Sheild and Guy Quenneville

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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