New policies for ride-hailing services in British Columbia will allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate a limitless number of vehicles beyond geographical boundaries that are in place for the taxi industry.
Chair Catherine Read of the Passenger Transportation Board says the boundaries must be big enough for the ride-hailing model to be successful in a province that will require drivers to have commercial licences similar to those used by taxi drivers.
She says the companies that can submit applications as of Sept. 3 must charge a minimum “floor rate” of between $3.25 and $3.95, similar to rates paid by passengers using taxis.
However, Read says the board will allow the companies to increase the rate in order to expand their supply of drivers to meet passenger demand at peak times.
She says ride-hailing services will also be permitted to apply for as many operating areas as they wish by paying only one licence fee.
Read says taxi drivers will remain an important part of the transportation network in B.C. but the industry is dissatisfied that boundaries have not been changed for its drivers, something she says is not possible without data to adjust operating areas.