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B.C. government introduces ride-hailing legislation

Last Updated Nov 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm PDT

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The government of British Columbia has introduced ride-hailing legislation in Victoria.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says Bill 55 offers a “made in B.C. solution” to longstanding demands for services like Uber and Lyft to operate in this province by the fall of 2019.

The legislation contains several conditions making it difficult to implement before the fall of next year.

They include all drivers needing a Class 4 licence which is what all cab drivers now have in B.C. and every driver being subject to a criminal record check.

Insurance approval also depends on how quickly ICBC can implement new rules for drivers carrying passengers in private vehicles.

RELATED: Province to introduce ride-hailing legislation

Meanwhile, the province is expanding the power of the Passenger Transportation Board to determine rates and where taxis will be allowed to travel, taking that authority away from municipalities.

Changes to the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act have been described as the “government’s next step to enable ride-hailing in British Columbia.”

During last year’s election campaign, Premier John Horgan initially promised to make it legal by the end of last year.

Uber and Lyft see some issues with today’s legislation

Uber Canada’s Michael van Hemmen says that he still needs answers on the government’s plan for managing supply, specifically about the licensing of future drivers. He says today’s legislation differs from rules in Toronto and Seattle where ride-hailing is already allowed.

“It definitely raises some questions about when and how that will look if it’s able to happen here in B.C.,” van Hemmen says.

“We’re wanting to engage the government on ensuring that safe drivers with safe driving records are able to participate in ridesharing to really reduce impaired driving and not have unnecessary regulatory burdens in place to prevent them from doing so.”

He adds that Uber drivers go through criminal record checks and safe driver history checks before they can get behind the wheel for the company.

In an emailed statement, Lyft tells NEWS 1130 says the NDP’s tabling of ride-hailing legislation is an “important step,” but the company is not thrilled with the late-2019 timeline.

“The regulatory structure that would enable true ridesharing has yet to be seen and it is unfortunate that BC will be without ridesharing for yet another year,” Lyft says.