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.

Just Posted

Nanaimo Ladysmith education support workers reach tentative three-year deal

Union membership to vote on collective agreement on July 31

Island pickleball players perfectly prepared

Top-notch action at Fuller Lake Park in singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Dormant Chemainus Foods building soon to be revived

Market expected to bring new life to the downtown core

Ladysmith Arts Council leads effort to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse

Terry O’Reilly will be the keynote speaker during an interactive live webcast on August 8 at 6pm

Oyster Bay Microtel solidifies reputation as a Vancouver Island destination

The Microtel is focused on continuing to build their reputation over the summer

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Most Read