THE all-party committee tasked with examining ridesharing in British Columbia released a report on Tuesday with recommendations that need to be accepted by the NDP in order for ridesharing to come to the province, say the B.C. Liberals.
“The NDP introduced a supposed ridesharing framework that blocks major companies like Uber and Lyft from entering the market – and when our caucus suggested changes to make this framework workable, we were ignored by both the government and the Greens,” said Stephanie Cadieux, deputy chair of the committee and MLA for Surrey South. “Now several months later, the all-party committee has made the same suggestions. The NDP needs to put ideology aside and implement these recommendations to finally bring real ridesharing to B.C.”
“No other jurisdiction has blocked ridesharing the way the NDP has in British Columbia,” said Jordan Sturdy, BC Liberal Transportation Critic and MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. “I introduced two pieces of legislation in the past year to bring ridesharing to B.C. right now, and the NDP flat-out tossed them out the window without a second glance. Fast forward to today, and this committee has now reached the same conclusions as our legislation. If that’s not the minister playing politics, I don’t know what is.”
Committee members were not asked to consider how to integrate ridesharing with the current taxi industry. It appears that the NDP has made up its mind that simply repackaging the current taxi industry into an app constitutes ridesharing.
“Instead of facilitating real ridesharing, the NDP integrated a ridesharing service into the taxi industry – without so much as consulting the committee studying the issue,” said committee member Peter Milobar, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson. “The only way we will see true ridesharing in this province is by implementing the committee’s recommendations.”
“The recommendations in this report would finally bring B.C. into the modern transportation era,” said committee member Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “For nearly two years the government has done nothing but make excuses as to why it won’t bring in ridesharing, but British Columbians know the real reason why – pure politics with little regard to what our province wants and needs in terms of ridesharing.”
MEANWHILE, Michael Van Hemmen, spokesperson for Uber for the West Coast. said in an email to The VOICE: “If the government adopts today’s key recommendations, riders and drivers will be one step closer to seeing Vancouver join cities like Toronto, Calgary, and Seattle with true ridesharing services.
“We want to thank the MLAs and all the stakeholders who presented to the committee, and urge the BC government to make the key recommendations a reality as soon as possible. Uber is encouraged that the report’s recommendations reflect the expert advice put forward by the Province’s own consultant, Translink and others. Now is the time to finalize ridesharing regulations and have ICBC make a ridesharing insurance product.
“British Columbians have waited for years to enjoy the same ridesharing services available in other cities – and we believe today’s recommendations can make that possible this year.”
THE BC Chamber, as a member of the Ridesharing Now Coalition in a statement said: “Ridesharing Now for BC is pleased the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations has delivered its final report on ridesharing. Now that we have cleared this most recent hurdle to bring ridesharing to BC, we urge the government to adopt the key recommendations and move forward. Premier Horgan and Minister Trevena have committed to all British Columbians to allow ridesharing by the fall of 2019 and we are hopeful that this latest step allows them to keep this promise.”
B“Today’s report marks a major milestone in bringing ridesharing to the province by the Fall of 2019, as promised by the government,” said Ian Tostenson, spokesman for Ridesharing Now for BC. “We hear every day from business owners, employees, friends and associates that they want ridesharing that permits flexibility, affordability, part time employment opportunities, safer streets, and the ability to use this platform for both business growth and attracting and retaining employees. It is time to get ridesharing on the road by implementing the key recommendations and finalizing ridesharing auto-insurance.”
The coalition said they it is disappointed the BC government has already rejected the recommendation that would allow drivers to operate with Class 5 licenses. True ridesharing in BC is almost impossible if Class 4 licenses are required.
It noted: “Ridesharing drivers use the same personal vehicle to rideshare that they use to drive every day. Requiring additional or different licensing will unnecessarily keep people from driving with ridesharing services and limit the number of drivers available to provide rides. Additionally, ridesharing drivers will already be required to pass annual criminal record and driver history checks (where Class 4 licencing only requires this every 5 years).
“The majority of Lyft drivers drive part time – in Toronto, 91% drive fewer than 20 hours per week. Ridesharing drivers use the same personal vehicle to rideshare that they use to drive every day. This additional and onerous requirement will severely impact the number of drivers who will sign up to drive with Lyft, making it harder for riders to get a ride when they need one, similarly to what British Columbians already experience with the current taxi model.”