A new petition is calling for British Columbia to drop its Class 4 licence requirement for ridesharing drivers is making the rounds.
Vancouver remains the largest city in North America without access to ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. As the city is a growing technology hub facing increasing pressures on transit and transportation infrastructure, many residents have become frustrated at the delayed action being taken by the provincial government.
Now, according to a new report from Global News, advocates of ridesharing services have created a petition “calling on the province to drop its requirement that drivers have a Class 4 licence to operate.”
The provincial government has said that ridesharing drivers would be considered commercial operators and would thus need the same level of certification and taxi, limo, or school bus drivers for safety reasons. The government also has said that regular inspections and medical tests for commercial drivers are a “reasonable expectation for anyone who is driving for money.”
On the other hand, the ridesharing advocate group — called Stranded BC — believes that having a necessary Class 4 licence won’t actually make ridesharing any safer. In fact, they believe that the provincial government’s stance will “hamstring the industry,” making transportation less safe for people looking for rides.
“It’s going to prevent a company like Lyft to come to B.C. because they don’t go into any province that doesn’t have a Class 5 limit,” said tech entrepreneur Hossein Maleki, an organizer with Stranded BC.
Stranded BC also believes that the provincial government has taken so long to pass legislation allowing ridesharing due to its desire to protect the taxi industry.
“This isn’t really about safety — it’s about continuing to protect the taxi industry by imposing red tape on those who want to drive for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, by unnecessarily increasing extra hurdles and burdens for part time drivers,” reads the petition’s description. “This regulation decreases the availability of many potential part time drivers which negates the benefits of quick and efficient ridesharing.”
Regardless of the group’s demands, British Columbia’s provincial government says ridesharing companies can begin applying to operate in the province on September 3, though final details about how many licences will be available, how much companies can charge, and where they can pick passengers up and drop them off remain unclear.
Read (and maybe sign) the petition over at Change.org.
In related news, Lyft has officially announced its plans to launch in Vancouver this fall, making the latter its third market in Canada, joining Toronto and Ottawa.