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

Cooler day helps crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Nanaimo RCMP say increase in cycling opens up potential for more bike thefts

Police advise cyclists register their bikes with 529 Garage

City of Nanaimo to look at turning NDSS field into mid-size stadium

Parks and rec will begin stakeholder engagement and begin work on a phased plan for improvements

Woman arrested near Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake after road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Pandemic isn’t a time for tax increases

City councillors are out of touch with the taxpayers, says letter writer

New ICBC data details Nanaimo intersections with the most crashes

Old Island Highway at Bowen Road and Norwell Drive saw the most crashes in 2019

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read