January 28, 2016 - 8:00 PM
EDMONTON'S MOVE TO LEGALIZE RIDE-SHARING PUTS PRESSURE ON OTHER COMMUNITIES
CENTRAL OKANAGAN - With the ride-sharing company Uber showing no signs of going away — Edmonton just allowed it — local politicians say they have no choice but to acknowledge the popularity of the service.
“We have heard loud and clear from the public there needs to be more options to get around the community,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran says. “City council is waiting to see if and when the provincial government will change the legislation to allow ride sharing in local municipalities.”
Basran wouldn’t reveal his personal preference, saying only he is supportive of the transportation minister Todd Stone looking into the legislative changes necessary to legalize the service.
West Kelowna has taken it a step further, giving an open invitation to Uber's public policy manager Michael van Hemmen to give a presentation to councillors.
“We told him to come and tell us what it’s all about the next time he is in our area,” Mayor Doug Findlater says. “I know I’m curious and I think council would be happy to hear what he has to say, although at the same time, it’s not yet legal in B.C.”
Findlater says he personally doesn’t know enough about the company to judge it one way or another.
“You hear good things about it, you hear bad things about it," he says.
The mayor was concerned about reports of Uber jacking up its rates New Year's Eve leaving revellers in some of the cities Uber operates facing astronomical cab fares.
“It’s those things that make it cry out for some regulations,” Findlater adds.
Uber has proven to be a flashpoint for traditional licensed taxi companies and the municipalities that license them. Consumers in the cities where Uber operates have flocked to the service, even as traditional cab companies demand it be shut down.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016