Transportation Minister Claire Trevena defends restrictions on ride hailing that are more stringent than the rest of North America in the B.C. legislature, Nov. 26, 2018. (Hansard TV)

B.C. ride hailing regulation battle to carry on into 2019

Green MLAs vote against allowing ordinary driver’s licence

The B.C. government’s restrictive ride hailing legislation has passed into law, with the most controversial rules to be determined in the next year.

A key issue is Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s insistence that drivers for Uber and Lyft-style services obtain a class four commercial driver’s licence, the same as taxi drivers and operators of buses with up to 25 passengers. That requires a medical exam and more rigorous written and road tests, as well as a test of pre-trip vehicle inspection and a criminal record check.

The B.C. Liberals tried to pass amendments that would allow class five drivers to pick up passengers, with additional training and criminal record checks to increase safety. But B.C. Green MLAs, who had argued that the licence requirement was too restrictive, joined with the NDP to vote them down.

Before one vote, which ended in a tie that had to be broken by deputy speaker Raj Chouhan, Olsen argued in favour of the class five licence with additional training.

“A taxi is inspected every six months, and we honestly don’t know how often or how regularly app-based ride-hailing vehicles will be used,” Trevena said in debate on the legislation.

Olsen and Green leader Andrew Weaver voted against the B.C. Liberal changes. Olsen said later that he prefers to work with the ministry and the Passenger Transportation Board, which will licence ride-hailing services.

First promised by the B.C. Green, NDP and B.C. Liberal election platforms by the end of 2017, ride hailing is not now expected until late 2019 at the earliest. Another issue has been how the Passenger Transportation Board will restrict the number of drivers in each region, and set payment rates, instead of letting the market determine service.

RELATED: Expect ride hailing by 2020, B.C. premier says

Those restrictions are a concern for Uber, the San Francisco-based service that was among the pioneers of smartphone-based ride-hailing that is now in use around the world.

“Unfortunately, Bill 55 maintains key barriers to entry that have prevented ride sharing from operating in B.C.,” said Micheal van Hemmen, Uber’s general manager for city services in Western Canada. “We believe there is still time to act and we’re committed to collaborate with government.”

The government has empowered a committee of MLAs to work on the regulations in the new year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureride hailing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BIZ BEAT: Get a head start on spring cleaning in Port Alberni

Chris Fenton walks across a desert to raise funds for ACAWS

2020 is another banner year for Port Alberni

Painted banners will be hung up in the Rotary Arts District this summer

Port Alberni’s Special Olympic skaters head to BC Winter Games

Four skaters from Port Alberni will head to Fort St. John to… Continue reading

Alberni bowler proves that age is just a number

Maurice Bernier will be the oldest athlete at the Special Olympics nationals in Thunder Bay

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Victoria police ask victims of human trafficking to come forward after Saskatchewan arrests

Four people from Vancouver Island were arrested in Saskatchewan on Jan. 28

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Island wildlife rescue centre sees 9 poisoned birds since January

MARS trying to fundraise for ‘rigorous and expensive’ lead poisoning treatment

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Most Read