The fate of ridesharing in the city will fall to the North Bay Police Services Board.
North Bay City Council last night voted unanimously to keep the onus in the rideshare debate on the board, agreeing with a recommendation it has performed a great service for the community in regulating the taxi industry since 1997 and will continue to do so.
The decision followed a report from City Solicitor Peter Leckie, who found the board continues to “meet the public’s expectations of consumer protection, public safety, and other public policy considerations like accessibility.”
The resolution also clearly states the police board will decide how rules for ridesharing companies will be incorporated.
From the report: “City Council continues to delegate to the Police Services Board the responsibility for establishing, monitoring and enforcing rules for taxis and also be further delegated the responsibility for establishing, monitoring and enforcing rules for transportation network companies (Ride Sharing Companies).”
Ridesharing company Uride has commenced scaled-back operations in North Bay and has been searching for drivers to add vehicles to its app-based fleet.
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Leckie’s report states, “The emergence of transportation network companies (Ride Sharing Companies) has put competitive pressure on traditional taxis in many municipalities and these new companies are currently not covered under the Taxi By-Law. Taxi regulations need to be updated to include other forms of Vehicles for Hire to help establish a level playing field.”
The North Bay Police Service held a town hall meeting last month hosted by the board, which included stakeholders and a representative from consulting firm BMA Management to provide a third-party review of the current by-law.
Video from town hall meeting: Rideshare debate heats up
According to the report, it will be up to the board to examine how other municipalities have developed a vehicle-for-hire by-law “with appropriate guiding principles that address public safety, accessibility and consumer protection.”
The police board has announced it is accelerating the process to update the taxi bylaw so that it includes rideshare services such as Uride. The public will have a chance to comment on the revised bylaw at two public meetings, the dates of which have not yet been determined. The revised bylaw is expected to take effect soon after a special summer meeting of the board in early July.