Ridesharing to fill a need

By Bryan Eneas
January 3, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) shut down roughly seven months ago; its closure brought about a few private businesses who’ve attempted to replicate its service.

Those services have yet to pick up the slack in northern Saskatchewan however; in their absence individuals have turned to ridesharing amongst themselves.

Stacia Selinger moved to La Ronge for casual work in Sept. and commutes to Saskatoon on weekends. According to a post on social media she opened her vehicle to travellers when she makes the trips.

“There’s not really much out there, that’s kind of why I put the post up… I’m going anyway, I might as well [offer a ride],” Selinger said. “It’s kind of like see a need, fill a need. It’s not like I’m making a profit, I’m just trying to do my part in society.”

Selinger said the need is “definitely there” for a transportation service to La Ronge; she said there lots of people who expressed interest in her service when she first made the social media post.

She’s seen many people offering rideshare services on social media but there are few consistent services offering transportation between La Ronge and Prince Albert or Saskatoon.

Selinger said people are looking for rides for a variety of reasons. Some travel for medical reasons; other are visiting family and some make trips for leisure or business.

She doesn’t throw safety into the wind when she’s transporting people; using a buddy system, she informs her parents or close friends when and where she will be taking passengers. She also trusts her gut instinct when it comes to providing rides. If she ever felt uncomfortable she said she wouldn’t allow a traveller into her car.

She said she has yet to have a bad experience in sharing her vehicle with strangers.

“[I’ve met] some really inspirational people on the few trips I’ve done,” Selinger said.

SGI lays out rules for ridesharing

At the end of November 2017 the provincial insurance body issued a press release announcing the creation of the Vehicle Sharing Act. The document rolls out rules for companies like Lyft and Uber to abide by when the services come to Saskatchewan.

The act has yet to become law; it still needs to pass through the provincial government. If the act passes municipalities need to decide whether or not they will allow ridesharing in their communities.

The act requires companies to run criminal record checks for any potential hires. Drivers must obtain a class four drivers licence along with the appropriate registration for their vehicles. Companies must provide evidence of a motor vehicle liability insurance policy of at least $1 million.

Guidelines for private individuals to run their own were laid out in the press release accompanying the Vehicle Sharing Act. Ridesharing among private individuals isn’t allowed in Saskatchewan unless the same regulations companies abide by are followed.

“The use of a personal vehicle for transporting passengers for compensation, for money, is not currently permitted unless you’ve got that class four license and that class PT or PB registration,” Jennifer Rathwell, a spokesperson for SGI said.

She said law enforcement can issue tickets for illegal transportation of passengers. Drivers also run the risk of not being covered by insurance should an accident happen where the driver is at fault.

Carpooling is different from ridesharing according to Rathwell. She said the definition of a carpool is people going to the same place with a common purpose – even if cash is exchanged for gas.

“That doesn’t really compare to someone offering rides for compensation to complete strangers via a social media network or a social website,” Rathwell said.  

 

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