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Concerns raised about 'inside track' in B.C. ride-share market

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, a driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a customer in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Former Transportation Minister Todd Stone says Kater is already working to set up a phone-based app

The transportation minister says ride-sharing changes to be in place later this year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As would-be ride-hailing users continue to wait for approval in British Columbia, concerns are being raised about one company possibly having an ‘inside track.’

Former Transportation Minister Todd Stone says a Surrey-based company called Kater is already working with the Vancouver Taxi Association to set up a phone-based app.

And Stone says that’s a problem.

“It would seem that Kater is being provided some kind of back door opportunity here in B.C., which is wrong on so many levels,” he says. “What the government ought to be doing is opening it wide open now.”

But his NDP successor, Claire Trevena, denies Kater has any inside track or advantage over Uber and Lyft.

“Anybody who is working on app-based ride-hailing will have to follow the same rules,” she says. “The regulations will not be in place until likely this summer.”

RELATED: BC Liberals introduce private bill aimed at bringing ride-hailing to B.C. by February

As for why it’s taking so long, she insists safety has to be paramount and the playing field needs to be level for everyone.

Trevena says the insurance likely won’t be in place until the end of the summer, pushing the change to the fall.