City of Barrie looks to regulate ride-sharing companies
Taxi drivers in Barrie are getting more concerned about ride-sharing companies like Uber killing their business.
The City of Barrie is trying to keep everyone happy by studying new proposals to regulate the changing landscape.
“They're not levelling the playing field and they're going to put the general public in chaos,” says Melvin Woods, owner of Deluxe Taxi Barrie.
Starting Monday night, council will discuss a whole range of new options. The ideas range from new licensing fees, to the city collecting an 11 cent fee for every Uber trip. Not to mention tougher background checks for drivers.
“We’ve always regulated transportation. This is just a different category,” says Tammy Banting, manager of bylaw services for the city. “The safety aspects, that what we're really concerned with. So it's more criminal record checks, it’s driver’s abstracts.”
Taxi drivers are leery about some of the ideas.
“It's like the Wild West. You will do what you feel like and charge what you feel like with this proposal,” Woods says.
Some designated driving companies say regulations could hurt their already thin profit.
“Any interruption in an industry like this, because there is no money in this industry, is bad,” says Mark Lanning of Executive Designated Drivers.
Some drivers admit their customers are embracing changing technology.
“It's needed and if there's a demand, I'm willing to hear what council has to say about this,” says Matt Stovold of Driver Seat Barrie.
Uber drivers feel there's room for everyone. Chantal Dugdale says she's already playing responsibly with full commercial insurance and monthly safety checks.
“We're not replacing taxis. We're supplementing a transportation service within our area,” she says.
The debate will only intensify when the City of Barrie delivers its proposal to all the parties involved.