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Record numbers for ride-sharing consultations

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The industry has had their voice heard, and in a big way.

Over the course of the summer, the City of Oshawa has been gathering citizen and industry stakeholder feedback regarding the implementation of policy surrounding transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber.

In total, nearly 100 people came out to one of a series of five in-person consultation sessions, many of them from the general public and members of the industry. As well, the city saw almost 500 responses to an online survey on the topic.

“It’s great to see so much input from residents on this important issue, said Councillor Amy McQuaid-England, the chair of the Corporate Services committee. “It will help council with future decisions on transportation in our city.”

The public engagement was the largest seen by the city since it launched the Connect Oshawa portal in 2015.

The issue of TNCs, companies that allow riders to hail drivers via an app, came to a head in the spring when councillors were delivered a report laying out the public consultation process.

McQuaid-England was critical that stronger measures were not being taken to stop these companies from operating. Currently, with no proper bylaw in place, the companies operate illegally inside the city as they do not conform to the city’s taxi-cab bylaw.

However, many councillors supported gathering all the proper information ahead of making any policy or legal decisions. It was also noted at the time by Jerry Conlin, the city’s director of municipal law enforcement and licensing services that enforcement was being carried out against these companies. It was not shared just how many infractions had been handed out.

The ride-sharing issues has also seen strong blowback from the taxi-cab industry, many of whom have appeared before council asking for a flat-out ban on Uber’s operations in the city.

A final report on go-forward strategies is set to come back to council this fall. Previous estimates stated the report would appear on council’s agenda in September.