Uber regulations to come into effect mid-September

New bylaw will regulate ride-sharing companies on Sept. 15

A taxi from Amey’s on University Ave.

The Kingston Area Taxi Commission’s (KATC) bylaw regulating Uber will come into effect on Sept. 15. 

It will conclude the Commission’s more than three-year effort to regulate the  ride-sharing industry.

The new rules cap the number of ride-sharing vehicles on the road at any given time to 50, allowing for 150 registered ride-sharing cars in total.

The bylaw also requires Uber drivers to have photo identification, proof of insurance, and to undergo in-person police criminal background checks. There’s also a $600 annual fee every driver will have to pay.

It’s unclear what impact the bylaw will have on Uber’s operations in Kingston. When reached for comment, Uber Canada’s Public Policy Manger, Chris Schafer, declined to provide The Journal with an interview, saying the company was “still reviewing” the matter.

Meanwhile, a petition asking Mayor Bryan Paterson to intervene in the bylaw’s implementation garnered over 500 signatures since it was posted two weeks ago.

“The Kingston Area Taxi Commission (an unelected body) passed a bylaw putting severe restrictions on ride sharing drivers and companies like Uber and Lyft,” wrote the petition’s creator, Andy Williams. “Despite no vote going before city council this bylaw will go into effect starting Sept. 15th.”

In a written statement to The Journal, AMS Commissioner of Municipal Affairs, Soren Christianson, said the Society wouldn’t take an official position on the bylaw, while also referencing the stance the AMS took in 2017. 

“Last year the AMS took a stance against such regulatory measures, which are present in KATC Bylaw #4,” he wrote. 

Christianson pointed out that in a 2017-18 AMS Transit and Transport Survey, 54 per cent of respondents opposed bylaws that prevent commercial ride-sharing services.

Christianson added that while the Society recognizes the usefulness of ride-sharing companies, “We cannot agree with or officially endorse the illegal operation of any company.” 

“That said, the requirements of the KATC Bylaw #4 seems very onerous, especially when compared with other Bylaws, which aim to regulate commercial ridesharing companies.”

Corrections

September 7, 2018

The Journal would like to clarify that the position taken by the AMS last year on Bylaw #4, remains the Society's position today.

Soren Christianson's name was misspelled in the original text. The article has been ammended to reflect the correct spelling. 

The Journal regrets the error.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.