London taxi drivers not impressed with ex-PC leader's private member's bill
Tim Hudak's name may not carry the same clout it used to, but when the former PC leader attracted the media spotlight last week in his push to facilitate the ride-sharing app Uber, it got the attention of local taxi industry officials.
Hudak says clear, consistent, province-wide rules would encourage more app-based businesses to set up in Ontario, and would put an end to the "guerilla warfare" in some cities over Uber and its impact on local taxi services.
"The province needs to take the lead as opposed to leaving it to municipalities," he said. "Send a signal that we're an economy that is open for innovators, for new ideas, and would take a leading role in supporting technology."
Hudak's private member's bill would also give a green light to new companies like AirBnB and Rover, with apps that let people share their homes or parking spots.
The apps help some people save money and others earn some extra cash, added Hudak.
London taxi spokesman Roger Caranci told Hudak in a conversation Wednesday that both jobs and consumer security are at risk.
"His thoughts are that there are many users. There are many users every day that are using Uber and they should be brought into being a company that provides a service. And my response back to him was there are no safeguards with Uber in the way it operates today. So I think he understood the argument that we were coming from."
Last month, London city council voted to give staff direction to come up with a potential model on how ride sharing licencing might work. It's far from wholesale support of Uber, but it's a step in that direction.
While some city councillors may not share Hudak's enthusiasm for Uber, that doesn't necessarily mean they are opposed to province-wide regulations.
Part of the the dilemma is how far they should go in establishing local rules, before they get thrown out the window by provincial legislation.
"Local municipalities might care about the level of accessible vehicles available. Our local bylaws allow us to set those levels to a certain degree now, so as provincial legislation is considered in this area, it's always important to note that there are unique circumstances that municipalities have," says London Councillor Josh Morgan.
CTV technology analyst Carmi Levy says government legislation or not, consumers will drive change.
"As hard as it is to admit, Uber is coming. You might not like it, you might not like the changes that it brings to the transportation industry, but this is a new technology and as we've seen in so many other industries, eventually the app, the technology, the web services, the website will win," he says.
Hudak's private members bill is scheduled for debate October 29th.