Saskatoon city council’s transportation committee wants taxis and ride-sharing services to charge passengers the same minimum rate.
The committee met Wednesday to discuss getting regulations in place for ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, with the services expected to become legal in Saskatchewan this fall.
Currently, cabs have to charge at least $3.75 per trip. City administration recommended a base fare of $3.10 for ride-share services — but the committee opted to pass on a recommendation to council calling for both types of company to charge the same minimum price.
The committee also passed recommendations that ride-share drivers be subject to the same background checks as cab drivers and be required to use the same security features in their vehicles.
Under the rules proposed by the committee, ride-shares would not be allowed to use cab stands and would be barred from picking up customers who hail them from the street.
The committee rejected a proposal to have ride-share vehicles display city-issued decals in their windows over concerns this would encourage people
Administration proposed that ride-share companies pay licensing fees of $2,500 for a company running one to 10 vehicles, $12,500 for those with 11 to 50 vehicles and $25,000 for fleets of 50 or more vehicles.
On Monday, council passed a bylaw requiring cannabis stores to pay $20,000 business licence fees, with the higher cost justified as a means to recover the city’s costs in developing and enforcing regulations.
At Wednesday’s committee meeting, Mayor Charlie Clark remarked that regulating hundreds of ride-share drivers would likely cost more than regulating seven legal marijuana retailers set to open later this year.
He asked administration to report back to council with a proposed fee structure that would recover the full costs of regulating ride-sharing companies.
The committee’s recommendations will go before a full meeting of Saskatoon city council on July 23.