Liberals introduce bill to bring ride-hailing to B.C. by Valentine’s Day

Liberals introduce bill to bring ride-hailing to B.C. by Valentine's Day

File photo.

File photo.

A week after the B.C. government introduced legislation to pave the way for ride-hailing service in B.C., the Opposition Liberals say they have a bill that could get the service in place within 90 days.

The Liberals are introducing a private members bill (PMB) the party says is the exact copy of legislation written in 2016 that would bring ride-sharing to the province by Valentine’s Day.

The province said the earliest ride-hailing will come to B.C. is the fall of next year as the government works to balance passenger safety with consumer demand.

The NDP said ICBC is developing new ride-share insurance for the fall, but the Liberals say their PMB already provides a framework for insurance.

The province said safety is the priority for companies such as Uber and Lyft to have cars on B.C. roads, with criminal record checks and ride-share drivers will require a class 4 commercial license instead of a regular class 5 license.

That will require more in-depth tests and medical exams.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena introduced the legislation that proposes the Passenger Transportation Board have expanded powers to accept applications and set terms and conditions for licences.

A coalition of businesses and interest groups advocating for ride-hailing said the legislation imposes too many onerous restrictions on the industry.

The group says it will just create an expanded taxi industry, not the ride-hailing services that customers expect.

In a release, the Liberals say their PMB will allow for:

  • A level playing field for existing and new operators including driver and vehicle standards, insurance requirements and service and supply flexibility
  • Removal of restrictions related to supply so that the number of cars on B.C.’s roads from both existing and new operators would be determined by consumer demand
  • Removal of boundary restrictions so drivers have the same access to provide services wherever and whenever a passenger needs a ride
  • Removal of local government ability to require chauffer permits, business licenses, and other restrictive requirements
  • Standardized provincial licensing, safety, enforcement and consumer protection requirements
  • Removal of red tape and overlap within the system which will save all drivers money
  • Provisions to ensure the availability of accessible services
  • A framework for replacing the requirement of a Class 4 driver’s license with Class 5 for all drivers of existing and new operators.

Lyft public policy director Timothy Burr Junior said last week more than 90 per cent of Lyft drivers work fewer than 20 hours per week and are looking for supplementary income.


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