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MADD calls for accelerated BC ride hailing introduction

Last Updated Jul 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm PDT

The Uber logo is seen in front of protesting taxi drivers at the Montreal courthouse, on February 2, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Ride hailing needs to come here by the end of this year.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is making that call as it pushes for the province to reconsider plans to push its introduction back to 2019 at the earliest.

“Ride sharing services would complement the existing services of taxis as well as public transportation by adding another option for people to get home safely, and never take the risk of driving impaired,” says Tracy Crawford with MADD, who argues allowing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate will encourage people to make safer transportation choices.

She says another factor adding urgency to the ride hailing issue the coming legalization of marijuana.

“It does provide a huge impact for impaired driving when people are going downtown or to areas where they can’t get a ride home,” says Crawford.

“They have that option, so for us it is a very positive thing we would love to see implemented. So it was frustrating and disappointing to learn that it was going to be delayed at least another year.”

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Adding his voice in support of a sped up introduction of services like Uber and Lyft is Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart.

He is active on the issue of reducing drunk driving, with involvement in the Operation Red Nose designated driver program. He lost a childhood friend to a drunk driver.

“It can’t possibly take two and a half years to put in place a regime that supports ride sharing,” says Stewart.

“The system needs to expand very quickly and there’s a system that other cities have adopted successfully. Let’s find the appropriate adjustments that need to be made. But let’s do it now. Let’s do it quickly.”