Will Toronto’s New Uber Regulations Impact Mississauga

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Yesterday, Toronto proposed regulations for popular but embattled ride-sharing company Uber and many -- especially fans of the service -- are pleased with the results. 

As for what the soon to be debated (meaning they have not yet been passed into law) regulations entail, some key points, as reported by the Toronto Star, are as follows: 

-       Taxi drivers will pay a $290 annual licensing fee and UberX and other services will each pay a $20,000 one-time fee while their drivers pay a $10 annual fee and 20 cents per trip.

-       Taxis will require twice-yearly inspections at a city garage and UberX cars will require a yearly inspection and a Ministry of Transportation Safety Certificate.

-       Taxi drivers will still be required to submit police background checks and UberX drivers will be required to submit their checks to the company. Should the city ask to see the checks, Uber must comply.

-       Taxi and UberX drivers will all require $2 million collision and passenger hazard insurance coverage. The province will determine what type of insurance is appropriate.

-       There will be a cap on the total number of cabs, but not on the number of UberX and similar vehicles that set their own fees.

-       Taxis will remain the only cars allowed to pick up passengers hailing for rides on the street, but the city will allow Uber to pick up phone customers.  

So while this is definitely good news for Uber in Toronto -- some TO city councillors have even referred to it as "capitulation" to the controversial company, as reported by The Star -- what does it all mean for Mississauga?  

As of now, the city is still working to draft regulations for ride-sharing services and has asked Uber and similar companies to suspend all operations in Mississauga until council can pass down formal rules for the tech companies that are, at the moment, technically operating outside of city bylaws. 

But while the process is still ongoing, you can check its progress. 

"The review continues and an open education session is taking place tomorrow at Public Vehicle Advisory Committee (PVAC)," said Carley Smith DeBenedictis, a senior communications advisor with the City of Mississauga. 

You can learn more about the open education session -- which will be held today in the civic centre, council chambers in City Hall at 1:00 pm -- here

The biggest item on the docket is the regulation of ride-sharing or transportation network companies (commonly referred to as TNCs). A host of important people, including city councillors, taxi company representatives and regular citizens will be in attendance to discuss the future of ride-sharing services in Mississauga. 

The document is lengthy, but certainly worth a look. It demonstrates a steadfast willingness to incorporate Uber and similar services into the city's transportation framework, which showcases a step in the right direction. 

Now, with Toronto having gone ahead and proposed Uber-friendly regulations that will allow the company to continue to link passengers with drivers through an app, it begs the question as to whether or not Mississauga will follow suit with similar (or even identical) rules. If Mississauga decides to propose the same -- or very similar -- regulations, it would make sense. Since the cities are so close geographically, it would ease Uber travel from Toronto to Mississauga and vice versa. 

It's also easy to see that The6ix's regulations are neat, clean and easy to imitate -- providing Sauga city councillors with a reasonable framework to base their proposed regulations on. Toronto has, it seems, set a good example of how a large municipality can work to formally and legally incorporate a new (and controversial) but ultimately much-desired entity that thrives on customer loyalty into the city's fabric. 

It will be interesting to see how the session plays out tomorrow and what decisions Mississauga will make over the next month. Will we see regulations similar to TO's? Has our eastern neighbour set a good precedent? More to the point -- has Toronto done Mississauga and other cities wrestling with the tech company a favor by being the first GTHA city to take the plunge? 

While it's still too soon for Uber users to celebrate (especially in Mississauga), things do seem to be looking up for the tenacious company and its loyal fans.

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