Carpooling Illegal? PickupPal Learns the Hard Way
Fledgling carpool organization PickupPal was dealt a heavy blow by the Ontario Highway Transport Board, who found that they were operating an illegal carpooling operation. With the launch of Smart Commute Toronto and carpooling on everyone's mind (commuters and businesses alike) as a way to save money (and the environment), the decision in this case seems extra laughable.
PickupPal seems to have gotten themselves in trouble by letting ride seekers pay drivers for rides, which irritated bus companies, and apparently violated the Public Vehicles Act.
Naturally, PickupPal has reacted, by creating a list of criteria that must be met for carpooling to be legal, including the ridiculous rule that you can only travel between home and work, and that you cannot cross municipal boundaries. Somehow seeing those rules makes me feel extra good about the samosas I pick up with my carpool buddy in Malton, on my way to Toronto from our work in Mississauga.
It may be that PickupPal is violating existing (and behind-the-times) rules, but it is absurd for those wishing to carpool being denied simply because they want to pay the driver for the gas.
Jerrold said it better than I could have:
"If I want to pay my friend to trim my toenails, I should be able to (whether they own a nail shop or not). If I want to pay for gas when I get a ride to Montreal off Craigslist, I should be able to (whether a bus company objects or not). This story is going international, and it's making Ontario look like a joke."