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Saving the environment in Ontario just became illegal

This Magazine Staff

How’s that for a sensationalist headline? I couldn’t resist.
The Ontario Highway Transport Board has recently ruled that rideshare website Pickup Pal is breaking the law by allowing users to coordinate carpools and offer rides to mutually convenient destinations for a fee.
The Toronto Star reports that the decision was instigated by chartered bus company Trentway-Wagar Inc. who got their panties in a bunch over claimed lost revenue sucked up by rideshare services. They insisted that Pickup Pal was violating the Public Vehicles Act by allowing users to offer up their cars as “public vehicles” without the proper green light.
What’s next, the Sheraton waging war against CouchSurfers? Nannies lashing out against babysitters?
During a time when Tim Hortons cups are fodder for intense political debate and parents obsess about the environmental repercussions of disposable diapers, it’s more than a little disappointing that the OHTB folded so quickly. I suppose in poor economic times, capitalism and the bottom line trumps community and environmental concerns every time.
I have no doubt that the dollar will recover, but what card will be played next to squash low-budget, community-based organizations like Rideshare.
To salt the wound, the ruling came shortly after legislation to legalize ridesharing in Ontario, for the purpose of reducing emissions and easing congestion, was proposed last month.
Here’s hoping it passes.

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