Dozens of cab drivers converged on city hall Wednesday morning to send Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman a message about their desire to be consulted about the way their industry will be regulated after services such as Uber and Lyft come to the city.
Cab drivers filled both sides of the council chamber gallery during the first few hours of city council’s September meeting, ostensibly in support of an effort by Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie to ensure cab drivers will have some input into regulations the city is expecting to enact after the province enables ride-hailing services to operate in Winnipeg.
The city is preparing to develop those regulations, even though the province has yet to pass its legislation around ride-hailing services, which it introduced in March. Last week, Bowman urged all provincial MLAs to support the bill.
Before the city’s regulations are developed, Eadie and Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt want the mayor to create a working group that will include taxicab representation. A motion authored by the duo has been referred automatically to an executive policy committee meeting in October.
Several cab drivers at city hall told CBC News they were not aware there was no vote on the regulations at council on Wednesday. Some said they were asked to attend by their peers, while others said they were asked to come to city hall because they were led to believe there would be a vote.
“We don’t mind the competition. We just want to have a fair, level playing field,” said Jaspal Bedi, a Duffy’s Taxi owner-operator. “We were here to say, ‘We should be involved in the decision making.'”
Eadie took responsibility for the presence of the cab drivers, expressing concern that Winnipeg’s ride-hailing regulations could threaten the livelihoods of more than 400 drivers in favour of a ride-hailing company that he fears will not be subject to the same insurance…