City councillors in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, approved a bylaw on Monday to approve transportation network companies (TNCs)—or ride-hailing companies—to start operating on city streets.
The green light means ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft can now operate legally in Saskatoon, reports CBC News.
For months, debate ensued regarding TNCs, as local cab companies said ride-hailing companies would result in unfair competition.
The new bylaw passed on Monday means cabs and TNCs will both need to have drivers pass criminal record checks, plus start fares at $3.75.
However, TNCs will not have a cap on cars, unlike cabs, which are currently limited to 210 in Saskatoon. Taxies argued this lack of a cap was unfair.
The city will not require companies like Uber or Lyft require cameras inside vehicles, unlike cabbies.
Taxi companies called out the city as “biased”, favouring TNCs, such as the owner of United Cab Group of Companies, Dale Gallant. He said a camera in cars would prove whether TNC vehicles were ever poaching passengers who originally called for a cab.
Uber’s Michael Van Hammen said the new bylaw has licensing fees too high and wants rates compared to similar cities like London or Kitchener, at 11 cents per trip, instead of the current 22 cents per trip proposed.
There’s no date set yet for when riders will start seeing vehicles from Uber or Lyft on city streets.
“I realize the taxi industry is frustrated with this, but this is something we’ve been working on for two years,” Coun. Randy Donauer said, according to The Star Phoenix.
The votes passed 8-2 in favour of the new TNC bylaw. Councillors Hilary Gough and Bev Dubois voted against the bylaw, arguing instead for a deferred vote in two months until further questions could be answered.