Barrie council has approved new regulations for ride-sharing services like Uber and are giving taxi companies a break.

The plan is a part of a one-year pilot project that the city hopes will create a level playing field.

Under the new regulations, ride-sharing companies such as Uber will have to pay a licensing fee based on a graduated scale reflecting the number of drivers and vehicles.

City staff estimated Uber would be paying $6,888.07 plus 11 cents per trip.  

The mayor says the technology is there to track the numbers and enforce the fees.

“Uber’s operating procedures is to provide details in the app of every single trip and because it’s per trip fee it doesn’t mean or matter how long it was the amount it was would just be forwarded to the city,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.

As for taxi companies, the city has eliminated licensing fees for taxi drivers and their vehicles.

“That means as a driver you no longer face a personal expense of many hundreds and previously it’s been thousands of dollars,” said Lehman.

Some in the taxi industry call the break a good start.

“At least you can save few bucks – the fees in Barrie are pretty high compared to Toronto, so it will help a little,” said taxi driver Shahi Mahmood.

Some  taxi owners would have liked to see insurance adjustments.

“We are moving ahead and approaching a level playing field, but we’re not there yet,” said Melvin Woods with Deluxe Taxi.  

The city will also no long set taxis fares, instead the companies will decided what a trip will cost.  The taxi industry argues that will lead to gouging and undercutting.

The plan will also require minimum standards for drivers including a valid licence, good driving record, criminal background check and adequate insurance.

Before council approved the plan Monday night, 11 people from the industry spoke against the pilot project.

The one-year pilot project will take effect July 1st.