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.

Just Posted

OPINION: Ten signs that Port Alice has changed

“Right now, our lack of amenities is holding back economic growth in our village”

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port McNeill council discusses ‘bear aware’ and what you can do to stay safe

Port McNeill’s Conservation Officer Brad Adams gave a presentation about being ‘bear aware’.

Port Hardy RCMP release tips to prevent fraud and theft from vehicles

In many of the incidents reported, “the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.”

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read