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.

Just Posted

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Golden’s weekly news recap

This week’s top stories

MP warns of scam after catching Facebook Messenger imposter account

Wayne Stetski issues warning about an imposter messenger account that is using his profile photo

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read