Driver responds to customer call using Uber, a popular ride-hailing app used in large cities around the world. (Wikimedia Commons)

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

The B.C. government is changing a series of laws to allow ride-hailing services in the province, with insurance for drivers of Uber and Lyft-style services available by the fall of 2019.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said Monday B.C. has learned from other jurisdictions where ride-hailing services were authorized without question. B.C. intends to avoid issues like “gridlock” at peak passenger demand times and declining use of public transportation, Trevena told the legislature.

The Passenger Transportation Board will be allowed to issue licences for new services, including penalties for infractions up to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies.

ICBC will have a new insurance option by next fall for ride-hailing services, Trevena said Monday. A fee will be added to each ride to finance options for disabled customers, but the amount is not yet determined.

The legislation expands the Passenger Transportation Board’s jurisdiction to determine boundaries of service, which has been an impediment to taxi services in B.C. in the past. Existing taxi companies and new operators would have to apply to the board for new or expanded services

All ride-hailing drivers will have to obtain a class-four licence to drive for hire. This includes a criminal record check. A fee will be added to each ride to finance options for disabled customers.

Michael van Hemmen, Western Canada representative for Uber, said he is concerned about B.C. retaining a cap on the number of drivers.

“We’re looking at a model that allows as many people as possible to safely participate,” van Hemmen said. “So if you’ve got a safe driving record, you’ll be able to give a ride to a friend, a colleague or a stranger via the Uber app, to help reduce impaired driving among other challenges for our transportation system.”

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the long process and government committee oversight mean no ride sharing in B.C. this Christmas, and likely next Christmas as well.

“The NDP have set this up to fail,” Wilkinson said. “They’re setting up a complex government bureaucracy that’s going to collect data for a long time, and basically this is not customer driven or market driven, this is NDP driven.”

Wilkinson added there is no reason he’s aware of that prevents private insurers from offering coverage for ride-hailing drivers.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada suggested Monday that if the delay is a result of Insurance Corp. of B.C.’s lack of insurance options for drivers using their personal vehicles for part-time commercial work, private companies should get a chance.

“Other Canadian insurers provide ride-sharing insurance in other Canadian cities, and could quickly serve the B.C. marketplace,” said Aaron Sutherland, the bureau’s vice-president for the Pacific region.

The 2017 NDP campaign platform promised to deliver ride hailing by the end of that year. As minister, Trevena first cleared the way for up to 500 more taxi licences across the province.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureLyftUber

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

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read