Mississauga committee to create pilot program 'test-driving' Uber

Mississauga City Council voted to establish a special committee that will provide recommendations for a one-year pilot program 'test-driving' companies like Uber in the city.

Uber asked to cease operations while program is created

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie speaks at a city council meeting on Wednesday, as councillors debated motions aimed at regulating ride-sharing. (CBC)

Mississauga city council has unanimously voted to ban companies like Uber until the city can write new regulations to cover both the taxi industry and ride-hailing companies.

Councillors passed a motion to change the public vehicle by-law to allow ride hailing companies to operate only if they follow the same rules as the taxi industry. For example, those companies would have to obtain a city licence. 

But there's still a chance for Uber.

Council also voted 10-2 to create a committee charged with developing recommendations for a one-year pilot program allowing Transport Network Companies (TNCs) to operate under a defined regulatory framework.

"We are 'test-driving' TNCs in Mississauga, so to speak, to see how they fit into our marketplace under our terms," said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "We cannot bury our heads in the sand, but must recognize new technologies and industry trends." 
Residents pack the stands of Wednesday's Mississauga City Council meeting. (CBC)

The committee will be made up of the mayor, Coun. Ron Starr, Coun. Karen Ras, the chair of council's public vehicle advisory committee, as well as a member of the taxi industry, the TNC industry and a citizen representative.

Their findings will be released at a general committee meeting in September. In the meantime, council instructed all TNCs to cease operations until the program is completed.

Peel Taxi Alliance president Paljit Panduri says he's looking forward to the findings.

"We'd love to compete," he said. "If [Uber] can get those customers at that rate with our rules and regulations, we're happy to do so."

However, the committee will be disbanded should TNCs continue to operate illegally in Mississauga.

In a statement, Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath wrote: "We are currently reviewing today's vote in Mississauga and remain committed to work with the city to develop smart regulations for this new industry."

Uber would not comment on whether it will cease operations while the program is developed.


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