Province introduces ride-sharing legislation today

Marco Green
November 21, 2018

Ride-sharing services like Uber have existed for nearly a decade, but British Columbia has yet to adopt them.

British Columbia's government has introduced long-awaited legislation that will pave the way for ride-hailing services in the province.

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

The announcement will include a technical briefing and slide presentation on the act, followed by remarks from the minister and a Q&A session.

The government of British Columbia has introduced ride-hailing legislation in Victoria.

The province has appointed a special committee to "review and make recommendations on the effectiveness of the changes" outlined in the new act as they are rolled out.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the NDP's bill is a move in the right direction, but he questioned the government's plan to require driver training and class four licences rather than class five, which are used by most drivers in B.C. Class four licences are required to drive taxis, ambulances and small buses with 25 or fewer passengers.

The suggested changes will also ensure passengers are not left stranded when traveling from one city to another, while a new per-trip fee will be added to "fund more accessibility options for people with disabilities". He says today's legislation differs from rules in Toronto and Seattle where ride-hailing is already allowed.

She said ride-hailing companies could be operating by next fall largely depending on the development of a new insurance system to cover the service.

Trevena declined to give an estimate for when ride-hailing vehicles might actually hit the streets in B.C.

"We are limited by insurance. Nobody's going to be on the road until there is an insurance product that works for them", she said.

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. Earlier this year, there was some suggestion that ride-hailing would be allowed in B.C. sometime in 2018.

Hara was also tasked with finding a "made-in-B.C." solution to the impasse caused by strict regulations at the provincial branch that licenses taxis and the government monopoly on auto insurance, which now won't cover vehicles used for ride-hailing.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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