Ride hailing is operating in Toronto and other North American cities, but B.C. hasn’t licensed any services yet. (Flickr)

B.C. MLAs call for no caps, no boundaries for ride hailing drivers

Minister Claire Trevena says Class 4 licence requirement will stay

Ride hailing services in B.C. should not be held back by imposed geographic boundaries and caps on how many vehicles can participate, an all-party committee of MLAs has recommended to the provincial government.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says she is open to considering taking off regional driver caps and boundaries, restrictions similar to taxi service that were imposed with changes to the Passenger Transportation Board licensing system the NDP government has put in place.

Trevena spoke Tuesday after the MLA committee released its report, built on submissions from taxi and ride hailing companies as well as other interested parties. She said the Class 4 commercial driver’s licence is in place for ride hailing in Alberta, and it’s a safety requirement that will be kept in place as ride hailing companies are licensed by the end of this year.

Premier John Horgan later agreed with the commercial licence requirement and said he expects services will be operating in B.C. before the end of 2019.

After delaying the licensing of smartphone app-based service and enabling an increase in taxi licences, the NDP government passed legislation last fall limiting the number of drivers and where they can operate. The legislation also requires drivers to obtain a Class 4 commercial licence like taxi and bus drivers.

B.C. Liberal MLAs on the committee said a majority on the committee recommended against the licence restriction. Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux, the deputy chair of the committee, said the restriction will prevent part-time drivers, particularly women, from entering the ride hailing market.

Cadieux said the NDP’s effort to get taxis into the market first with an app called Kater that is rolling out in the Lower Mainland is not going to meet the flexible demand of drivers and customers.

“Kater is lipstick on a pig,” Cadieux said. “It is not ride hailing.”

READ MORE: B.C. taxi app set to launch before ride hailing allowed

READ MORE: Business group says B.C. model looks like taxi expansion

B.C. Liberal MLA Jas Johal said more taxis may be licensed in large urban areas, but only true ride hailing services such as Lyft and Uber can reach into smaller communities around B.C.

“This is about Terrace, it’s about Kitimat,” Johal said.

Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s representative for Western Canada, said the recommendations to remove driver caps and geographical restrictions on trips would bring Vancouver into the same league as Calgary, Toronto and Seattle, which have had ride hailing operating for some time.

“Uber is encouraged that the report’s recommendations reflect the expert advice put forward by the province’s own consultant, Translink and others,” van Hemmen said. “Now is the time to finalize ride sharing regulations and have ICBC make a ride sharing insurance product.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureride hailing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read