VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You can count B.C.’s transportation minister as pleased Metro Vancouver mayors are close to finalizing a regional licencing plan for ride-hailing.
She says she’s looking forward to this getting done, after mayors met on Thursday to hash out the details.
“It looks like the mayors will be approving it, and I hope all those in the Lower Mainland who want to participate do participate,” Minister Claire Trevena said. “People have been asking for this, as they have around the province. I’m looking forward to seeing other applications being approved so other communities can see ride-hail come to.”
Trevena has spoken with Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum as his city continues to be tangled in controversy with ride-hailing.
She says she’s made it clear to him that the likes of Uber and Lyft are here to stay, despite his ongoing resistance.
“We made it very clear that no municipality can block ride-hailing,” Trevena said. “We are anticipating that municipalities will work together on the inter-municipal business licence, get benefits from having these companies operating in their jurisdictions, but without going to war over it.”
She added, “We want to make sure that people who have been clamouring for this service are able to have it and those are people in Surrey, in Vancouver, in Richmond, in Coquitlam — right across the Lower Mainland.”
Meanwhile, the province says talks are also underway to make car insurance more affordable for taxi drivers who are now competing with ride-hailing operators who pay lower ICBC premiums.
“The insurance product will be based on the per-kilometre distance travelled with passengers aboard and is equivalent to what is available for ride-hailing vehicles,” Trevena explained. “In the near future, taxi drivers who want this new product will be able to switch their insurance, with coverage beginning in the spring.”
Drivers who want to keep their current coverage won’t be affected.
The group designing the regional licence for the region is expected to release its proposal on Friday.
-With files from The Canadian Press