Premier Says Ride Sharing Coming to British Columbia by Christmas

British Columbia Premier John Horgan doesn’t see anything standing in the way of ride sharing companies hitting the roads by Christmas as originally promised.

According to a new report from Global News, Horgan is sure that ride sharing companies will begin service in B.C. by Christmastime.

“I’ve made it abundantly clear to anyone who will listen that I believe we need to have ride-hailing here — fair ride-hailing here — by Christmas, and that’s my commitment,” Horgan said Thursday.

“We’re going at the speed we believe is appropriate for public safety and appropriate for fairness to the existing sector,” he continued.

The Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), an independent body tasked with deciding which ride-hailing companies will be allowed to operate in British Columbia, began accepting applications on September 3, and has received 19 to date, including from major players Uber and Lyft.

The board also set the operating guidelines for ride-hailing, including operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates. Taxi companies and the associations that represent them objected to the rules, filing petitions with the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Opposition Liberal critic Jas Johal says recent documents from the PTB indicate delays in processing applications that could stall the service indefinitely.

The PTB also issued a notice October 30 saying ride-hail application modifications will require another 21 days to complete, a change implemented in part because of a judicial challenge by taxi associations.

As per usual, concerns between the public and private sectors are at odds, with one favouring safety and regulation and the other favouring efficiency and quality. Regardless, if everything goes according to plan, British Columbians will soon finally have reasonable alternatives to their taxis.