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B.C. not backing down on licence rules for all ride hailing drivers

Last Updated Nov 22, 2018 at 6:08 pm PST

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, a Lyft logo is installed on a Lyft driver's car next to an Uber sticker in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The B.C. government is insisting ride hailing drivers will need the same kind of licensing as taxi drivers, Class 4

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) — The provincial government is not willing to budge when it comes to making all ride hailing drivers have the same licence classification as cab drivers.

That’s how Transportation Minister Claire Trevena is responding to resistance from Uber executives to legislation introduced in Victoria this week.

RELATED: China’s largest ride-hailing firm launches research lab in Toronto

A key sticking block is the requirement for drivers to have a Class 4 licence, but she says Quebec and Alberta already have similar rules.

“If somebody is making money by driving people, they should have that extra investment in safety. It is a medical exam ensuring that you have that clean driver’s record ensuring that you know how to inspect your vehicle and that this is renewed every number of years. I think that people expect no less of their drivers.”

RELATED: Ride-hailing advocates ‘bewildered’ by B.C.’s implementation plan

Trevena adds she’s convinced the standard Class 5 licence isn’t strong enough.

“My number one concern is obviously safety for the travelling public, as well as people who are driving the vehicles. We have, at present, Class 4 for the taxi industry and as part off making sure that safety is paramount, I want to make sure that we had Class 4 also for new app-based ride hailing.”

Changes announced Monday include mandatory criminal record checks and Trevena is expecting Bill 55 to be passed in time to ensure ride hailing apps are legal by this time next year.

RELATED: B.C. government introduces ride-hailing legislation

“I am hopeful that we are going to get this legislation through, that we’ll prepare the ground for app-base ride hailing by September of next year.”

Even so, Uber executives say they still plan to lobby for rules similar to what Ontario and Manitoba have which only require drivers to be 19 years old and have a safe record.