Post Tagged with: "E-commerce"

Ontario Transport Board Rules Against Pickup Pal

Earlier this year, I wrote about attempts to shut down Pickup Pal, a ride sharing website, in Ontario. The Toronto Star reports today that the Ontario Transport Board has ruled that the website is operating illegal in the province by helping strangers offers rides for a fee.

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November 12, 2008 2 comments Must Reads

PickupPal Controversy Highlights Power of Networked Economy

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) "picks up" on the debate over PickupPal, a ride sharing service that operates around the world. Trentway-Wagar, a Peterborough-based bus company, has raised questions about the legality of the service in Ontario. PickupPal has about 100,000 registered users worldwide (approximately 10,000 in Ontario alone) who use the Internet service to connect and identify possible ride sharing partners.  The result is more carpools, less traffic congestion, and decreased emissions. Notwithstanding the benefits, Trentway-Wagar argues that the service violates the Ontario Public Vehicles Act because it allows drivers to collect money by offering strangers a ride. This is not the first time that the company has targeted ride sharing services.  In 2000, it succeeded in stopping Allo-Stop, then Quebec's biggest ride sharing company, from operating in Ontario.

The PickupPal debate has thus far focused on an outdated provincial law (the government has promised to review the legislation) and the environmental impact of rules that appear to discourage ride sharing. Yet there is a bigger story here. The law has been rendered out of date because the Internet facilitates new modes of production and organization that enable thousands of people to connect, share, and work together in ways that were previously limited larger, well-organized, and well-funded companies. As scholars such as Yochai Benkler and Clay Shirky have persuasively argued, these modes of production provide great promise.

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September 2, 2008 5 comments Columns

PickupPal Controversy Highlights Power of Networked Economy

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 1, 2008 as Network Economy Changes the Rules PickupPal, a ride sharing service that operates around the world, recently attracted considerable attention after Trentway-Wagar, a Peterborough-based bus company, raised questions about the legality of the service in Ontario. PickupPal has about 100,000 registered […]

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September 1, 2008 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Using the Net To Share Rides Illegal?

The Toronto Star reports that Trentway-Wagar, an Ontario bus company, is trying to shut down PickupPal Online, a online ride sharing service.  The Ontario government has said it will reconsider the applicable legislation.

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August 22, 2008 8 comments Must Reads

Statscan Reports Open Source Software Use on the Rise

Statistics Canada reports that open source software use is on the rise among Canadian private sector firms.  Seventeen percent report using open source software, up from 10 percent last year.  Given that the numbers are likely far higher, my guess is that this reflects the growing awareness of open source […]

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April 24, 2008 2 comments Must Reads