VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — After the long-awaited approval for ride-hailing B.C., it’s finally here, but with some setbacks outside Vancouver.
Things moved quickly bringing Uber and Lyft to Vancouver after the Passenger Transportation Board gave the green light for operation on Thursday. A day later, the companies were already able to pick people up.
By Friday morning, Vancouver International Airport announced at least three different pick-up areas for ride-hailing vehicles. However, for some municipalities, the process isn’t going as smoothly.
The CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade is thrilled ride-hailing is finally operating. But Anita Huberman is concerned about the service in the city, given the mayor has been so staunchly against it.
“We’re hoping that it’s not difficult for the [ride-hailing] industry to exist, in terms of by-laws or rules that may be enacted about drop-off locations, and other pieces,” she says. “There is a regional framework for a business license that all Metro mayors — except for one — indicated that they would support. That framework in itself though is not going to be ready until the end of the year.”
Huberman says she wants to see that timeline sped up.
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“So we’re urging the Metro mayors to expedite that timeline, we’re going to continue our advocacy to local government decision-makers, all of council,” she says.
In a statement, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says the ride-hailing approval hasn’t changed his stance on the matter.
“What continues to be my chief concern is the unfair advantage that has been created without any regard as to how it will impact those who are employed in the taxi industry,” he explains. “It is no secret that a large percentage of cab drivers live in Surrey and the modest wages they earn go to support their families.”
McCallum argues the taxi industry already meets all the needs of passengers.
Meanwhile, other municipalities like Langley, Maple Ridge, and White Rock, don’t have the option for Uber to pick you up, since it’s only offering service in certain cities.
Tsawwassen is also excluded and Delta City Councillor Dylan Kruger says service is limited, at least for now.
“Well, today should have been a very exciting day. We’ve had eight years of waiting and waiting in Metro Vancouver. Finally, we’re getting ridesharing. It’s happening, but not really. We’re getting the Mickey Mouse version,” he says.
Kruger takes issue with municipal licensing.
“We have 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver with 21 different municipal licensing frameworks. We’re working on an inter-municipal licensing framework, but that should have been done eight years ago. We’re just starting that work now. That needs to be expedited as soon as possible,” he says.
If Class 4 licenses weren’t required, Kruger argues the situation could have been different.
“It does not improve driver safety. All it does is artificially restrict supply,” he argues.
Uber is able to drop people off outside its designated service area but isn’t able to pick people up.
Lyft, however, still isn’t able to make it out to UBC.
With files from Alison Bailey and Tim James