A group representing Saskatoon-based taxi franchise owners is weighing in as Uber threatens to leave Quebec over tightening regulations.
Representatives of the ride-sharing company this week said it would cease operations in Quebec by mid-October if the province decides to require a mandatory 35 hours of training for all drivers. The province has also proposed having local police forces do background checks on Uber drivers, instead of the third-party service the company currently uses.
Saskatchewan Taxi Cab Association (STCA) spokesperson Shondra Boire said Quebec is only asking Uber to play by the same rules as regular cab companies.
“They’re not crazy requirements that our taxi drivers go through. They’re very standard and there is a very clear reason why they’re there,” Boire said.
Boire said the Quebec government’s move to require criminal record checks for Uber drivers also mirrors existing rules for cab drivers across Canada.
Boire said drivers are trusted with customers and therefore should be well vetted.
“Especially in the case of children, seniors and the mentally and physically challenged, which we haul on a daily basis,” Boire said.
According to STCA, traditional taxi drivers undergo 35 hours of training. Boire said that’s a reasonable requirement to be placed on Uber.
“You know all that we’re asking is that we keep that bar of safety and the standards up high and not drop it to let them in,” Boire said.
STCA is hoping to fill the gap that Uber could potentially fill in Saskatoon.
The proposed solution to ease peak times is called Flex-Service.
“We have been to the province and been to SGI and kind of have the go-ahead,” Boire said. “We are just waiting to hear as far as the city council to see what we can put together and the best options there.”
Boire said they’re are hoping Flex-Service cabs will be up and running soon.