Florin Marksteiner. April 11, 2018. Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

Uber CK Organizer Impressed By Draft Bylaw

A local resident advocating on behalf of bringing Uber to Chatham-Kent says he thinks the municipality’s draft of a new Vehicle for Hire Bylaw is a “great step forward.”

The municipality is gathering public input on the draft bylaw, which recommends repealing the current Taxi Bylaw and replacing it with the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw.

A public meeting is being held on Wednesday, April 18 at 6pm in the council chambers at the Civic Centre in Chatham.

According to the municipality’s website, the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw would cover all vehicles that carry passengers in exchange for a fee, such as taxicabs and private vehicles for hire, including private transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.

Florin Marksteiner, a local Uber advocate, says he is impressed by the draft bylaw.

“I do like that the municipality is working on this because this is for the community,” explains Marksteiner. “This is going to be service for the community, done by the community. I think it’s a great step forward and a shift in gears, which is good.”

Marksteiner says he believes the taxi industry will improve in Chatham-Kent as the municipality moves forward on a new bylaw.

“It’s going to improve by them putting up their game a little bit. Plus, you’re going to see there’s going to taxi companies that are going to start here or even come from somewhere else in Chatham-Kent,” he says. “[It will happen] as soon as we have the demand,┬ábecause that’s the problem, we don’t have the demand because we didn’t have the supply.”

Marksteiner says the fees stand out to him in the draft bylaw, but he is pleased they are reasonably affordable.

“Everybody can afford them and if anybody decides to drive with Uber and drive their friends, family, and of course, people from the community, it’s pretty easy on the money too,” he says.

Marksteiner says he will be at the meeting next week to show his support and possibly provide input.

“We cannot dictate exactly what the municipality can do but we know that the municipality is going to do the right thing,” explains Marksteiner. “The community needs the transportation industry to grow.”

Marksteiner says the app is operational for Uber in Chatham-Kent, but it falls under Windsor’s jurisdiction. He says it’s operational, as long as the municipality gives the green light. He says about 67 drivers are ready to start servicing the community through Uber.

According to Marksteiner, about 700 people have shown their support on the Uber Chatham-Kent Facebook page and about 130 signed a petition to bring the ride-sharing service to the municipality.

The municipality says after public review and input, the draft bylaw will be presented to council for approval. Administration is currently planning on presenting the bylaw to council in May.

If passed by council as currently drafted, the bylaw would take effect immediately.

Comments and concerns about the draft bylaw can be emailed to CKLicensing@chatham-kent.ca.