Is a web-based service that helps those with spare seats hook up with those willing to pay for rides “facilitating the operation of an illegal transportation service?” The Ontario Highway Transport Board has decided that it is, in a case brought against PickupPal by unhappy operators of bus lines.
While I can see how liability issues arise in relation to safety, it doesn’t seem appropriate for the board to fine and try to shut down this service. As someone who travels frequently by Greyhound, I know that bus service in Canada could stand some competition-driven improvement. This sort of decentralized commerce seems like a pretty good way to reduce the environmental impacts of inter-city travel. After all, having a passenger or two travelling along with you does more for your passenger-kilometres per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted than buying a more efficient vehicle probably would.
While I can see the reason for the bus companies’ grievance – after all, they need to pay a fair bit to comply with commercial transport laws – on balance their complaint seems anti-competitive and likely to be environmentally harmful.