North Bay group calling for ridesharing service
Ride-sharing programs like Uber are becoming more popular and more available in many cities.
In North Bay, there is a grassroots movement forming on social media to try to get a ridesharing service to come to the city.
A Facebook group called ‘North Bay Needs Ride Share!’ has over 600 members and supporters.
"It's great to provide more options. I think having a ridesharing program will balance out the playing field between taxis." said Jonathan Wayne, North Bay Needs Ride Share member.
Critics say unlike taxi drivers, Uber drivers are not screened by police and often they don’t have adequate insurance.
Taxi companies also say their vehicles are inspected four times a year.
John Strang owns U-Need-a-Cab in North Bay. He says ride share companies would push the taxi industry out of business.
"It would be a job killer. City council, the mayor, and the police service board, they regulate our industry." said Strang.
In order to operate in North Bay, all licensed taxi businesses need to comply with the local police service board’s taxi bylaw.
"There's certain requirements under this bylaw which include a license, the requirement of a taxi stand, and the ability to be dispatched to a customer." said Special Constable John Schultz, of North Bay Police Service.
Wayne says North Bay is growing and needs to keep up with the times.
"Especially if you look at how North Bay is tied in with robotics and the drone industry. We are a leader in the technology sector, so it only makes sense that we make that available to the community.” said Wayne.
But is there interest from the big ridesharing companies to open in North Bay?
Uber says no.
“While we are always looking to see more Canadians benefit from ridesharing, we don't currently have anything to announce for North Bay. That said, we are always open to having discussions with Canadian municipalities to see how we can partner together in the future.” said Josh McConnell, of Uber Canada in a statement.
Wayne says one main benefit of having a service like Uber would give people another alternative to getting behind the wheel and driving after having consumed alcohol.