New ride hailing service to launch

Hire PTP will launch in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie April 15 and “then all over Manitoba later.

New ride-hailing service to launch

The Portage Citizen

An “Uber-like” ride hailing service may take to Portage la Prairie streets as early as April 15.

Hire PTP (Personal Transportation Provider) principal Wasiq Razzaq may have taken Portage la Prairie city planners a bit by surprise with Hire PTP, keeping his plans close to his chest despite meeting numerous times with city administration. Razzaq said following an April 9 city council meeting,

But, the entrepreneur adds the fee structure under a proposed new city Local Vehicles for Hire bylaw will make it difficult “until they reduce the fees”. Hire PTP is also concerned the present shuttle system allows ride sharing, something Hire PTP will not be allowed to do.

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Hire PTP will launch in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie April 15 and “then all over Manitoba later.

During question period following city council and committee meetings, Razzaq raised questions and concerns regarding the city’s planned changes in its proposed Local Vehicles for Hire bylaw expected to get second and third reading as early as April 23. The city is planning to have the bylaw in effect on June 1.

“We have to follow the law of each municipality. Right now, we have business licences from the cities of Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie.

“Concerning the fees,” Razzaq said, “taxi companies run their own vehicles, but we don’t have our own.” He said municipalities should only charge business license fees and none related to vehicles.

Like management of other ride hailing services, Hire PTP is internet-based and only supplies an interface – an app – between driver and customer. “This high tech, all over the world and a real good concept,” Razzaq said. “It will bring the prices down maybe by as much as half.”

The proposed city Local Vehicles for Hire bylaw 2018 fees include Ride-Sharing Services license of $1,000 for up to five vehicles. Fees are applied only in batches of five vehicles. Drivers planning on working under the Hire PTP badge will have to have their vehicles licensed.

Uber has brought change across the world to the ride-for-hire industry. Coun. Brent Budz said the proposed city Local Vehicles for Hire bylaw took the possibility of an Uber-like service coming to Portage into account.

“The new bylaw deals with some of the issues our previous bylaw did not address. Some of those things were of the fines related to having unregistered drivers, not the proper licensing per unit, not following the proper signage, etc. Our new bylaw addresses a lot of those issues and hopefully will standardize the service provided to citizens here in Portage.”

Upon conviction, fines include $1,000 per incident for operating a local vehicle for hire business without a valid Local Vehicle for Hire License or for operating an unregistered vehicle for hire within the City of Portage la Prairie, $1,000 per incident, $1,000 per incident for operating a Local Vehicle for Hire by an unlicensed driver and failure to pass annual inspection of vehicle signage compliance: $500 per incident.

Not reporting an accident involving any of their registered vehicles will result in penalties based on an escalating fine structure; $1,000 for failing to report the first one, $2,000 for failing to do so a second time and a life time ban for a driver from operating a local vehicle for hire within municipality after a proven third incident.

“When we put the bylaw together, we chose what we felt was a very fair price in order to have that service here,” Cathie McFarlane, city director of corporate services said. “It’s a very new area. Down the road we may look at it.

“The city had been working on formulating its new bylaw since December, 2018 and it wasn’t until about (two) weeks ago that he said to me he might be bringing (ride hailing service) here. He operates in different communities in Manitoba.”

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