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County supports regional approach to taxis

Red Deer County council joins review of taxis led by City of Red Deer

Red Deer County is catching a ride on an initiative to take a regional approach to regulating taxis and services such as Uber.

City of Red Deer is behind the wheel of the project and has arranged meetings with neighbouring municipalities to get their input. A survey is being developed by the city to get feedback from residents and businesses.

County Mayor Jim Wood said since the city is revamping its vehicle for hire bylaws, it makes sense to take a regional approach.

“I think it’s important to recognize that travellers do not just travel within each one of their own jurisdictions,” he said.

Red Deer County has no bylaws regulating taxis. Other municipalities each have their own rules.

That has led to some jurisdictional inefficiencies. For instance, a taxi may be allowed to drop off a passenger at the Red Deer Airport, but is not cleared to pick up fares there.

“Some of the bylaws, don’t allow the return trip, which seems kind of silly in this day and age,” said Wood.

“I think that we need to be able to go up with some kind of (joint) rules that would work between various municipalities that puts us on a fairly level playing field.”

Uber is also expected to become part of the discussion, although the Alberta government has already taken steps to regulate the service at the provincial level.

The survey is expected to be available next month and will remain open until September, when results will be shared with all of the municipalities involved.

“The idea of the survey is to question the public as to what they might like to see and take their considerations into (account),” said the mayor.

“What we want to do is to make sure we have a system that enables people to travel when they need to travel, and, in fact, have a system that allows choice,” he said.

The county also wants to ensure that regional regulations don’t inhibit companies from serving rural customers.

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