Ottawa auto dealers set to get ‘free ride’ for next year
The Ottawa auto dealership association says it will get “free ride” for the first year of a $30-million government-supported initiative that will offer car-sharing and ride-hailing services in the capital city.
The Ottawa Association of Auto Dealers (OADDA) says it has received more than $15 million from Ottawa to “build a stronger community” for dealerships and “help protect our employees and the businesses they work in.”
“There’s no doubt that we’ve got to improve our operations,” said Rob Smith, the association’s president and chief executive officer.
“Our operations are struggling.
We’re in a crisis.”
The OADDA has been a supporter of the Ottawa Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (LTLC) efforts to provide a public transportation option for taxis and limousines in the city.
The commission says it wants to see more than 1,200 vehicles per day in the downtown core by 2024.
The association says the first step will be to create an “integrated and integrated” system of taxis and cabs, so they share information, and provide assistance to drivers who can’t get a ride in a cab.
That will include the creation of a driver-sharing service, to be operated by an Uber or Lyft competitor.
That service, the Ottawa City Taxi Alliance (OCTA), says it’s designed to help make the system more flexible and to make drivers’ schedules more flexible.
The group says it is now working with the city on the pilot project.
The OACTA says it would like to see an integrated system for all taxis, cabs and ridesharing services to offer on the same day, within minutes of each other.
The group says that will include a fleet-based system that allows taxis and rideshare companies to share information.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who supports the pilot, said he believes the province has “done a fantastic job” of creating a “strong and healthy” taxi and limo industry.
“I think they’re doing a great job,” he said.
“It’s been very successful in Ottawa.”
He said that in the past two years, the city has invested $15-million to support the pilot program.
Watson said that for the next five years, Ottawa will spend about $30 million a year on transportation, including $3-million for the new city taxis.
The city is also working with Uber and Lyft to set up the service.
The City Taxi Association said the pilot will give the city a “clear advantage” and provide incentives for drivers to use the services.
It says the initiative is designed to “reduce congestion” and increase the availability of taxis in the area.
“We believe that a strong, reliable, and cost-effective transportation system is essential to the city of Ottawa,” Smith said.
He said the city’s plan is to have an integrated, transparent and cost effective taxi and cab system by the end of the year.
Smith says the city will also look to create a more “efficient” taxi service for drivers, in a similar way to what’s been happening in other Canadian cities.
“The taxi industry in Ottawa has been in a pretty tough place for a long time,” he added.
“We’re very pleased to see that our taxi operators are taking the initiative and moving forward.
We think that’s a positive development.”