New coalition calls for ridesharing choice in B.C.

A new B.C.-based coalition will take the lead in advocating for increased choice and free-market competition for ridesharing in this province. Ridesharing Now BC is made up of eight major B.C. organizations in the tech, business, and the not-for-profit sectors.

The coalition’s anchor members include Vancouver Board of Trade, BC Business Council, Vancouver Economic Commission, BC Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Finger Food Studios, Lyft, and the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

Ridesharing Now BC will immediately begin a letter writing campaign to MLAs, calling on them to legislate a distinct framework allowing for a competitive ridesharing industry that can deliver much needed choice to B.C. passengers.

“British Columbians want choice. We’ve all suffered through lengthy waits for taxis with no other option for getting from point A to point B,” said coalition spokesperson Ian Tostenson. “Politics, rather than public opinion, is driving the decision-making in Victoria. Right now, the B.C. government appears to be moving toward a model that would simply replace the taxi monopoly with a one-app monopoly that favours taxis. That’s not the ridesharing British Columbians want and expect, and it won’t add choice for passengers.”

The coalition is encouraging members of the public to visit their website and sign a letter to their MLA.

“We shouldn’t take it for granted that companies like Lyft and Uber will inevitably come to B.C.,” said Tostenson. “Government sets the conditions that will encourage a broad range of ridesharing companies to set up shop here. The only way they can fulfill their promise to British Columbians and increase choice for passengers is by bringing in a separate set of rules that allow every ridesharing company a chance to be successful. Let the public decide from there.”