Province taking steps to legalize Uber and other apps
While Toronto's Uber vs. taxi debate has reached a stalemate (for now), a provincial private members bill seeking to regulate the car-sharing app, as well as other services such as AirBnB and Rover, passed a second reading yesterday, reports the Canadian Press.
The bill, put forward by Tim Hudak, aims to create a clear, province-wide regulatory framework for the products that form the much-buzzed about sharing economy. According to the Canadian Press, the bill will now be studied by a committee.
If the bill passes, not only would these services be legal across Ontario, but as the National Post notes, homeowners would also be able to rent out their living and parking spaces without a municipal license - that means no more sneaking AirBnB guests in and out of your condo.
Tim Wootton and Grant Brigden, the founders of the Toronto-based parking app Rover, are pleased with these new developments. Aside from the bill, they've spent this week speaking at events such as the Tech Day at Queen's Park, a Toronto summit on the sharing economy and the Ontario Economic Summit. The sharing economy, they say, was a major theme at all three conferences.
"The only way that these companies really start working is if there is dialogue between the sharing economy companies and the different government bodies," says Wootton.
Rover, which launched in July, operates in a similar manner to other apps in its category; it quite simply connects drivers to parking spaces. And, it lets anyone in Toronto rent out their empty parking spots, including those in their driveways. Rover caps its rates at $2 per hour.
So far, 7,500 people have downloaded the app and Wootton says hundreds use it every day. As the city, and the province, starts to warm up to the idea of these types of companies, Wootton and Brigden hope the public jumps on board too.
"We're really looking to residents of Toronto to help us out because we need more parking spots in order to make this work," says Wootton. "We need parking spots and that supply comes from the residents of Toronto, it doesn't come from us."
As they continue to expand their startup's reach with programs such as Rover 'Til You're Sober, which provides free overnight parking, Wootton and Brigden are optimistic now that the municipal and provincial government seem to be "leaning in," as Brigden says, to the sharing economy.
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