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Nearly 160,000 people in B.C. have licenses needed for ride-hailing

Last Updated Aug 28, 2019 at 7:13 pm PDT

FILE: A Lyft ride-share car waits at a stoplight in Sacramento, Calif. on July 9, 2019. Ride-hailing company Lyft says it plans to be operating in Vancouver before the end of this year.The Passenger Transportation Board in B.C. has yet to unveil its final regulations for ride-hailing companies, but a statement from Lyft says the company is confident operations will begin in the Lower Mainland sometime this fall. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rich Pedroncelli

Tougher licensing rules in B.C. don't seem to be scaring off many people hoping to be ride-hailing drivers this fall

B.C. already has about 160,000 qualified commercial operators

A local driving school has seen more than 100 per cent increase since this time last year

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — It seems concerns around tougher licensing rules for ride-hailing services in B.C. may be unfounded.

Numbers provided by the Ministry of Public Safety show there are now 160,000 registered drivers in B.C. who could work for companies like Uber and Lyft, based on current license classifications for Classes 1, 2 and 4. According to ICBC, there’s also a 15 per cent increase in drivers who have passed the Class 4 tests for the month of August compared to the same time last year.

Driving schools are also seeing a boost in business. Joel Donnelly, Director of Operations with the Valley Driving School, says they have been about 116 per cent busier this summer than June, July and August of last year.

He says many students have been interested in driving for a ride-hailing service.

“It’s a good 75 to 80 per cent of those inquiries, if not more, have been directly related to the upcoming opportunities in the ride-hailing business through Uber or through Lyft,” he says.

“Definitely, our phones and our online services have lit up yet again with the inquiries for Class 4 training.”

Related stories:

Uber announces plans to operate in Metro Vancouver

Lyft says it will launch ride-hailing in Vancouver before the end of the year

No limits on B.C. ride-hailing fleet sizes

After Lyft recently officially announced they would be coming to B.C. there was a big spike in calls.

“And today, since the announcement for Uber this morning, definitely our phone and our online services have definitely lit up yet again with inquiries for Class 4 training,” he says.

Uber announced Wednesday morning on Twitter it would be filing an application with B.C.’s independent Passenger Transportation Board in September when applications for ride-hailing companies open.

As for the rules for ride-hailing drivers being too strict, Donnelly says it’s always good for people who may have been driving for a long time to have a refresher.

“Anything that leads to safer roads for all of us, whether it’s through our day-to-day business life and/or our personal lives, so as we’re driving around with family and friends, any extra refresher to build upon those skills, I think is very valuable,” he says. “It just helps better prepare people to be that safe, independent driver out on the roads.”

According to ICBC, there are still appointment slots for road tests available within the next 20 to 30 days.

Some politicians and ride-hailing operators have criticized the Class 4 licensing rules, saying they will make it difficult for companies to find drivers outside of Metro Vancouver.