B.C. Legislature Committee Calls For No Caps, No Boundaries for Ride-Hailing Drivers

An all-party committee tasked with putting together a report on the future of ridesharing in British Columbia has tabled its final report, along with a number of recommendations.

According to a new report from CTV, a legislative committee studying how to regulate ride-hailing in B.C. yesterday released its recommendations, including setting a minimum price-per-trip that is not less than the cost of public transit, which is around $3 CAD for a one-zone TransLink trip.

“We committed to get this done,” said Premier John Horgan at a news conference. “I am absolutely confident that ride-hailing will be here in 2019.”

The nine-member committee examining ride-hailing regulations for B.C. recommended a regulatory framework that places few requirements on boundaries, fares, numbers of vehicles and the licensing of drivers. Overall, the report recommends a total of 11 steps for the provincial government to take as part of the process in finally making rideshare a reality in BC.

“In order to get true ride-hailing on the road for British Columbians … government can’t get in the way,” said Liberal Stephanie Cadieux, the deputy chairwoman of the committee on Crown corporations.

Among the recommendations is the requirement that all ridesharing drivers hold a valid Class 5 license, as opposed to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s desire for all drivers to hold a Class 4 license — the same license required of taxi drivers.

Another recommendation is that geographic boundaries should not be imposed for ride-hailing companies. Currently, taxi companies are limited by operating boundaries, which are set when a taxi licence is granted, dictating where a taxi can pick up passengers.

TRide-hailing companies should be required to disclose the price for a trip on their app before the customer orders a ride, and data should be monitored to see if a base rate or cap on surge pricing should be implemented, the committee recommended.

The committee also recommended that ride-hailing companies be required to provide data to the province for monitoring purposes and that the province make that information available “to the broadest extent possible while maintaining privacy.”

“I do hope that now government will see fit to keep the recommendations and get real ride-hailing in place and on the road in British Columbia,” said the committee’s deputy chair, Surrey South Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux.

Trevena, for her part, said that she is willing to be flexible when it comes to boundaries, prices, and caps.

“I think it’s very clear in the time we’ve been working on this — and with the committee’s report, which is really very helpful — that there needs to be flexibility. People expect that of us,” she said.