One of Saskatoon’s largest cab companies is looking for ways to fuel its business one year after ride sharing services were allowed in the city.
Dale Gallant, a driver with Riide, has been working in the taxi industry for 46 years.
He said it’s been an unlevel playing field since ride sharing services came to town.
“There is a huge cost difference in the city licensing, Uber is much cheaper to licence with the city than we are. They don’t have to have cameras, they don’t have anywhere near the training we do,” said Gallant.
He said one of the biggest challenges is that ride share prices are often lower than what cab drivers can offer.
Tony Rosina, Riide’s operations manager, said he’s seen a drop in business as the company can’t charge what it wants and can’t put vehicles on the road when it wants.
“We’re not going to be able to respond to that extra demand and service it properly because we’re tied to the 186 vehicles. Uber, with 653, and not to mention the capacity to add more vehicles, obviously is able to provide a better level of service,” he said.
Rosina said Riide has lost some drivers to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
Pete Heck, a former RCMP worker, said he enjoys the flexibility of being an Uber driver.
“I wanted something where I was a boss. When Uber and Lyft started up, myself, I retried a year ago, and said ‘why can’t I do that’ because there’s no job schedule, you can pick the times that you want to work.”
Gallant said he’d never consider switching to a ride share service.
“There’s no way in hell that I would ever drive for that company, or any other like it,” he said.
To stay competitive, Riide offers several ways to order a taxi, including on the web and through an app, like with Uber and Lyft.
Rosina said customers can also track their cab on their phone in real-time.