Growing criticism over NDP ride sharing legislation


WATCH: Critics say NDP ride-sharing legislation and potential caps on the number of cars will put the brakes on the industry. Tess van Straaten reports.

It’s gridlock, political gridlock, as B.C. very slowly drives towards ride sharing.

“We need ride sharing right now,” says Chad Wetsch of Harbour Air. ” Not in two years. It has to happen quickly.”

B.C.’s business community is speaking out, saying there are so many speed bumps in the NDP government’s new ride haling legislation, many are wondering whether companies like Uber and Lyft will come here at all.

“To have all these restrictions that don’t exist anywhere else in the world doesn’t make sense,” says Ian Tostenson of Ridesharing Now for B.C. and the B.C. Restaurant Association. “They can move on and go somewhere else and if that happens, we’re back to ground zero.”

One of the biggest restrictions is the requirement for a class 4 commercial license, which means a medical exam and more in-depth testing.

“In most other countries a driver’s license is all you need,” Tostenson says. “We’re talking the difference between a full-time professional taxi driver and someone who might drive 10 hours a week.”

Also at issue, the very real possibility the province will limit the number of ride-share cars that can operate — and even where they can operate.

“This is something the Passenger Transportation Board is going to look at, like the number of taxis on the road, how many vehicles are going to be operating in certain areas,” transportation minister Claire Trevena says.

All the roadblocks and delays have critics questioning whether the NDP government actually wants ride sharing.

The taxi lobby is a powerful one and ride-hailing proponents say if politicians really wanted to bring it in, there’s no shortage of good examples they could follow.

“This has been a proven model that exists all over the world frankly, and it has for a long time,” says Damon Holowchak with the Donnolley Group. “Any data, any research anything that needs to be done we can probably find it in some other city.”

Ridesharing Now B.C. says the legislation is basically an expansion of the taxi service, not true riding sharing.

They’re urging the public to write their MLA and demand action be taken sooner.

But one group that is happy is the cab industry.

“I think it is good,” says Mohan Kang BC Taxi Association. “It gives us time to prepare more. Now we know they are coming and we have to put in more efforts to make sure we improve the taxi service.”


Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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