A local man is hoping to add another transportation option in Chatham-Kent, by bringing UBER to the community.

Florin Marksteiner told the Sydenham Current he is the person behind the social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter for ‘UBER Chatham-Kent’.

“UBER is available in the area and we’re getting organized,” Marksteiner said.

“I am not an employee of UBER, just to be clear. I’m trying to bring UBER to Chatham-Kent because it is a needed service. We’re trying to organize a group of people so there is demand, and so we create the market in another way.”

The group is looking to train up to 20 drivers in the near future.

More discussions about UBER expected

Wallaceburg Coun. Carmen McGregor says she expects to have more discussions at council about UBER in Chatham-Kent.

“I find the idea of UBER coming to C-K an interesting one,” McGregor told the Sydenham Current.

“On one hand I would not like to see it cause strife for our existing taxi services that are currently available but on the other hand it could be the answer to some of our small communities that lack in options for transportation. I expect to soon be having this conversation at council.”

UBER potential

The issue of private transportation companies (PTC), such as UBER, was discussed at council back in October on 2017.

Along with amending the taxi by-law in Chatham-Kent on October 23, council approved a recommendation for administration to prepare a request for information to determine interest in providing an accessible taxi service in Chatham-Kent.

Also, council approved a recommendation for a committee to be formed to discuss all issues relating to the taxi industry and the use of private transportation companies (PTC) as part of the Chatham-Kent transit system.

Reports say the committee has met several times and hopes to make a report to council by March.
Nancy Havens, manager of licensing services, said in her report that administration recommends further research into the need and/or suitability of PTC services for Chatham-Kent.

“At this time our municipality has not been approached by any PTCs,” Havens said in her October report.

“However, many smaller communities in Chatham-Kent would benefit from having access to PTCs. Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Windsor have permitted PTCs in their municipalities. PTCs cannot be hailed. They must be booked through an application that is available on the rider’s smart phone and payment is done in advance via credit card with the company not the driver.”

Havens said in March 2017, the Town of Innisfil launched a pilot project by utilizing Uber, as it is less expensive than the cost of a traditional bus system.

“PTCs could also be considered for the Municipality’s public transportation system,” she said in her report.

“However, many senior adults and persons that are not tech-savvy use the transportation system. If the Municipality considered starting PTC services in conjunction with its taxi system more use of PTCs could evolve over time. Or maybe PTCs could be used alongside public transit as it would provide people with options other than the current busing system. The (committee) when considering PTCs should also consider the pros and cons of the use of PTCs in the public transit system.”

UBER Chatham-Kent would be facing legal hurdles, as the use of PTCs in Chatham-Kent is prohibited by the current taxi bylaw.

Watch for more on this story.

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