Ride hailing is operating in Toronto and other North American cities, but B.C. hasn’t licensed any services yet. (Flickr)

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board has released rules for ride hailing companies that want to operate in the province, including larger regions than those imposed on taxi services.

Ride hailing companies such as Lyft, which has indicated it will expand to B.C., and Uber, which operates in other large cities, can be licensed for a single operating zone that includes Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Squamish-Whistler, or other large regions of the province.

Board chair Catherine Read acknowledged Monday that taxi companies are opposed to this, because the board continues to restrict their pickup zones to Surrey and other historical operating limits of competing taxi companies.

Read said the minimum “flag rate” charged by taxis to pick up a customer will also apply to ride hailing companies, but higher “surge pricing” rates will be allowed so ride hailing providers will be attracted to serve peak demand times where taxis have often run short of cars.

The number of ride hailing vehicles licenced for each zone will not be limited at first. Ride hailing fleets take time to build up, and that is especially the case for B.C. where a Class 4 commercial driver’s licence is required, Read said.

“No one else in Canada caps fleet size, and we’re not capping fleet size either.”

Regional district boundaries are used to define five ride hailing operating zones in B.C.: Lower Mainland-Whistler, Capital, Vancouver Island outside the capital region, Okanagan-Kootenay-Boundary-Cariboo and a fifth region taking in the rest of the province. Once they apply, operators can specify which part of the region they wish to provide service for.

Lyft representative Peter Lukomskyj said the company was looking for a province-wide operation rather than region by region, but it appreciates that taxi-style municipal boundaries and fleet caps have not been imposed.

“Our vision is to one day offer our proven transportation network throughout the province, but the Class 4 commercial licensing requirement will make it more difficult for us to deliver the reliable ridesharing service B.C. residents have been requesting for years,” Lukomskyj said.

The board has released its application packages and details for those wishing to apply for a licence. Applications will be accepted starting Sept. 3, but Read said it will take time to process them, take submissions from those who want to comment, and have the board issue licences “later in this calendar year.”

Ride hailing companies will not be required to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles. Legislation passed by the B.C. NDP government this spring provides for a 30-cent fee on every trip in a non-accessible vehicle, and has indicated the money will be put toward disability access.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Just Posted

Three rescued after canoe capsizes near Oak Bay

Private vessel finds canoe, brings people ashore

Controversial Cowichan tiny house still in place after removal deadline

Cowichan Valley Regional District had ordered it removed by March 15

Cowichan’s ‘Project Draw Breath’ team expands and diversifies

Team from Cowichan Valley ramping up to help during COVID-19 crisis

Vancouver Island man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Snow falls in Errington on April 1 (no fooling)

Snow doesn’t stick, but more may come on Friday

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for another six weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Wage subsidy program has been greatly expanded since it was first approved

Most Read