Uber now available in Regina
Regina the second city in Saskatchewan to have ride-hailing services
Uber is now available in Regina.
Users can now request rides through the ride-hailing company's smartphone application or go to the Uber Regina website for fare estimates or to apply to become a driver.
Michael van Hemmen with Uber Canada wouldn't say how many drivers were available, but he did say they saw more interest from Regina than they did from Saskatoon at this stage.
"People saw that we went to Saskatoon first so they've seen that we were committed to coming to Saskatchewan and the province and now they've said, OK, they're in Saskatoon, they're definitely coming, let's sign up and get on the road for day one."
The app shows some cars on the map of Regina, but Van Hemmen said there are more cars available than the ones shown.
Both drivers and riders get rated
To use the app, you need to sign up with your phone number and payment information. Once you have an account, you type in where you'd like to go. You'll be able to track the drivers progress toward your location and see the driver's rating.
"You rate each other out of five stars and so that's something for riders as well to get used to. Riders, make sure you're behaving appropriately and respectfully because the driver is rating you out of five stars," van Hemmen said.
Once you leave the car, payment is completed automatically through the app.
Rides are limited to Regina city limits and the only service available is Uber X, the company's standard offering. Services like Uber Pool, which allows a vehicle to take strangers as a carpool, or UberXL, which offers SUVs and vans, are not currently available.
'Nothing wrong with competition'
Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, was on hand at the launch in front of city hall Wednesday afternoon.
He said the government tried to level the playing field between ride-hailing and taxis as much as possible, but that this was "like opening another restaurant."
"There's nothing wrong with competition," Hargrave said. "That is how the economy works. I think that there's still lots of room for the taxi industry. I think they'll still be very active, very busy. They'll still have lots of drivers, lots of cars out there."
In addition to passing Uber's application process, which includes a vehicle inspection, drivers need a Class 5 licence, a clean criminal record and need to have had a Canadian drivers' licence for two years. Cars must display an Uber sticker.
Regina is the second city in Saskatchewan to get a ride-hailing service; it has been available in Saskatoon since February.
Van Hemmen said the company is looking forward to getting the service to other cities in the province but did not say which ones.