The Region of Waterloo has become the latest Canadian municipality to accept bylaw changes to adopt Uber and other ride-sharing companies. With the announcement, the US based company is now on the path to legalization in the area. Ontario has already backed Uber’s adoption by approving auto insurance solutions for ride-sharing companies.
In Waterloo, the Vehicle for Hire bylaw allows ride-sharing services to operate in the area. Like other municipality regulation changes in Canada, the law details the requirements for vehicles and drivers. This is now a clear set of rules for Uber and its drivers to adhere to if they wish to work in the region.
Uber has disagreed with some bylaws in the country and pulled out of those markets. Waterloo’s bylaw will come into effect on Dec. 1, Uber has yet to confirm whether it will comply with the changes, seek negotiations, or leave the market entirely.
As has been the case around Canada, the taxi industry is angered by the acceptance of a company that has operated illegally for nearly two years ago. The interim from the bylaw being passed and its implementation is also cause for concern. Until Dec. 1, Uber will continue to operate in the Region of Waterloo as a rouge company.
A good faith gesture would be for the company to stop operations, but Uber has rarely done this and is likely to keep operating.
“Public input was clear, they wanted both options – they wanted choice,” the region said in a release in June. “Drivers, owners and brokers will now have a similar license structure that achieves public safety and consumer protection.”
Vehicle for hire vehicles must now be identified by two exterior decals with the name of the taxi broker or booking company.
Decals must be at least 200 cm square. This requirement will be checked for size and location placement within 12 months of the bylaw coming into effect.
Drivers must provide a vehicle that is covered by proper and legal auto insurance.
Drivers must be equipped with real-time GPS units.
A decision on in-vehicle CCTV (not yet required) will be reviewed over the next 12 months.