The Ontario municipality of Kingston has suggested it will make a bylaw to adopt Uber, but the regulations will be tough compared to other municipalities. The city says it will make sure Uber is subjected to the same rules as the 220 taxi drivers operating in the region.
Among the bylaw proposals are security cameras in vehicles and that Uber has a physical location within Kingston. Both of these criteria have never been requested in other Canadian cities and provinces.
Considering Uber has left markets like Calgary for far less, the question remaining is whether the company would stay in Kingston if the proposed bylaw regulations are introduced?
“We’ll ultimately see through that process what gets carried from the task force, what may not get carried forward… then we’ll know the proof will be in the pudding about whether Uber is staying or not,” said commission chair John Pyke.
The bylaw is expected to be ready to go by the fall. It is unlikely Uber would remain in Kingston if the cities current proposals make it to the bylaw unchanged. Other cities have proposed similar strict rules for Uber, only to lessen their impact in negotiations with the company. It is unclear if that would be the case in Kingston.
Among the most interesting aspects is that Kingston is not a major market. If it is too much hassle to operate in the area, Uber is almost certain to pull out. A task force has been set up in the city made up of Schafer from Uber, two members of the commission, two taxi industry representatives, three members of the public and a representative from the City of Kingston.
“The Task Force heard many stories of the Kingston taxi industry being active in our community, playing an active role in our safety by assisting law enforcement and the pride they take in their roles as ambassadors of Kingston,” the authors wrote.
“The suggested regulations would require TNC’s to comply with which ensure that public safety and customer service in The City of Kingston remain at the same level of service that taxi drivers currently provide.”