The B.C. government said ride-hailing services could be operating in the province as early as Sept. 16.
On Monday, the provincial government announced regulations on licensing and ride-hailing service would take effect on Sept. 16.
The Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting ride-hailing applications on Sept. 3. The independent board will determine the supply, boundaries and fares charged to the passenger
“Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall, with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said. “British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government. We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise.”
Under Passenger Transportation Act regulations, criminal and driver record checks will be required. A driver cannot have four or more pointable convictions within two years or any serious driving infractions within a three-year timeframe. The government said illegal operators can face fines of up to $100,000 per day. The registrar has the authority to issue administrative penalties up to $50,000 to licensed operators who fail to meet regulatory obligations. Seven new record check related offences have also been created.
A 30 per cent tip fee for non-accessible vehicles is also being introduced.
The company or licensee will be responsible for conducting a review of the driver and issuing a record check certificate for those drivers who meet provincial requirements. The company or licensee is also responsible for hiring and monitoring drivers, reducing fatigue through adherence to hours of service requirements and ensuring vehicles are mechanically sound and safe to operate.
Drivers of taxis and ride-hail vehicles will be required to conduct an annual inspection if the vehicle has logged 40,000 kilometres or less in the previous year. A semi-annual inspection will be required if vehicles log more than 40,000 kilometres or more in the previous year. Ride-hail vehicles cannot be older than 10 years to operate.
No changes are required under the Motor Vehicle Act, the government says. The government will require all ride-hail drivers and taxis to hold a commercial Class 4 driver licence. Drivers must have a B.C. issued driver’s licence to drive a taxi, limo or ride-hail vehicle.
There will also be new insurance options. ICBC will sell a blanket insurance product directly to the ride hailing company (or facilitated through a broker to the ride hailing company). The rate for this blanket product will be based on kilometres driven. Both the ride-hailing company and vehicle owners will have the choice to purchase additional optional coverage, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, to extend while providing ride-hailing services.
Consultations with ride-sharing companies and the taxi industry are expected to start on Tuesday.