B.C. to Finally Pass Ridesharing Legislation, But 1 Year Wait Still Remains for Uber/Lyft

British Columbia Premier John Horgan says the province is moving one step closer to ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft, as ride-hailing legislation will be passed by the end of November.

According to Global News, Horgan said “The former government had five years from the first request for involvement in the ride-hailing sector from ride-hailing companies,” adding “Within the next two weeks, it will be introduced and I expect with the amount of support we have in the legislature, it will be passed.”

Despite the legislation being passed, don’t expect companies such as Uber or Lyft on the roads just yet. The NDP government says citizens will have to wait until at least the fall of 2019, to ensure the sector is ready.

“The legislation will be in next week,” said Horgan, adding “And then we will go into the significant changes for our insurance packages for those who want to drive, there will be additional criminal record checks. We want to make sure the playing field is level for those already in the sector and those new entrants.”

Ride-hailing insurance packages will be created with ICBC, then applications from companies looking to operate in BC will have to be reviewed.

The lengthy process means another holiday season where cabs in the Lower Mainland will be hard to come by. But that may change as the Passenger Transportation Board has been accepting submissions to get more taxies on the road, up to 500 more.

So far, additional taxis approved by cities in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are as follows:

  • Vancouver: 129
  • Richmond: 25
  • Surrey: 65
  • Coquitlam: 21
  • New Westminster: 9
  • Victoria: 16
  • North Vancouver: 29
  • Burnaby: 27

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBoT) hosted a forum last night, demanding the province move faster to get ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft in the city. In particular, millennial members were the driving force behind the forum, which aired frustration over the slow-moving NDP government’s plans to implement ride-sharing.

GVBoT President and CEO Iain Black said, “This matters to them. This was an interesting opportunity to allow a demographic to engage in a public policy conversation that matters to them… and actually talk about how the lack of this service impacts their lives, as a generation who frankly don’t own cars.”

“This exists in every major city in North America and it doesn’t exist here. We pride ourselves on being a technology city and we don’t have Uber or Lyft or the other ridesharing options… there’s no reason for this to wait until fall of next year, five months from beginning to end is more than enough time,” added Black.

The NDP had an election promise to allow Uber into B.C. by the end of 2017, but that never materialized, delaying the date until late 2019. B.C. is the last major jurisdiction in North America where ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft cannot operate, despite ridesharing operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

How badly do you want services like Uber or Lyft in BC?