Provincial government officially lays out plans for ride-hailing

Marcus Newton
November 23, 2018

"This is milestone legislation that gets ride-hailing right for B.C.", said Trevena in a news release.

The provincial government introduced legislation to modernize B.C.'s taxi industry on Monday, but it remains unclear when the first ride-hailing vehicles will hit the road.

"British Columbians absolutely want more options and flexibility in how they get around, but with checks in place to make sure their ride is a safe one", said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Allowing services such as Uber and Lyft into the province by the end of 2017 was a promise the N-D-P made during the last election campaign.

"Transportation Board is going to determine how many cars are on the road in any particular area at any particular time, which completely defeats the objective, we think, of ridesharing, which is driven by the consumer, that we need a ride now", says Tostenson. Uber and Lyft, however, had been pushing for regular Class 5 drivers to be permitted to drive for them.

Brail agreed that controlling rates is more in line with the taxi industry than typical ride-hailing models.

No matter how soon it happens, it'll still be a significant delay from what many British Columbians had expected when the current government came into power.

"Safety is my number one concern as minister, so we need to make sure the insurance is in place", she said.

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Access to B.C. drivers may be somewhat of a challenge for ride-hailing companies.

"Ride-hailing enterprises like Uber helped invent the gig economy, where jobs are created to be precarious, unstable, and mostly low-paying".

The legislation also marks a notable shift in power from municipalities to the provincial regulator. The federation criticized the labour relations practices of large multi-national companies such as Uber.

But under the proposed rules, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) could set caps for cars operating under a transportation network company.

"The legislation now proposed raises a number of challenges. The needs of workers have been left completely out of the equation".

"They skipped over ride-hailing 1.0 and they're at ride-hailing 2.0", she said. "By leveling the playing field, TappCar, and other local rideshare companies, will be able to compete with the global players".

The federation is calling for changes that ensure ride-hailing companies can't classify their employees as independent contractors. "The legislation aligns with city council's priorities and will result in more transportation options that are safe, flexible and convenient for people", Helps said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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