The City of Grande Prairie has taken the first step towards regulating ride-share programs in the city. The draft bylaw would bring companies like TappCar in line with to how taxis, limos and even designated driving services are run.

“It’s appropriate now with the way industry is changed and how technology is moving to allow companies to be more competitive, more responsive to the communities needs and wants,” says Director of Protective and Social Services Chris Manuel.

Manuel says current regulations stem from the business license bylaw initially installed in 2003, but a lack of consistency across the board is something they want to rectify.

“Technically, ride-shares kind of fall outside of the existing regulations. Although they can’t cross into what a taxi would traditionally do, we actually have nothing that regulates them at all. Essentially it’s going to level that playing field a little bit, and introduce some regulatory requirements from a municipal level.”

Designated driving services are also currently unregulated, but Manual says he doesn’t anticipate any great changes coming to those up and running businesses.

“A lot of them quite frankly are already self-governing with many of the requirements that we would put in play. It is just reinforcing there is consistency among them and that we are not holding one group to a much higher standard than another.

Manuel says the next steps will include public consultation over the next month, with an adjusted bylaw returning to the committee this fall. If all works as expected, the bylaw would be implemented January 1, 2020.