The province of British Columbia passed The Passenger Transportation Amendment Act on Monday night, paving the way for a made-in-BC ride-hailing solution. The NDP government says the actual launch of ridesharing won’t arrive in the province until the fall of 2019, meaning those eagerly awaiting the likes of Uber or Lyft will have to keep on waiting.
Uber believes B.C. ride-hailing legislation is too restrictive, saying no other province in Canada places controls on the number of vehicles or sets pricing.
Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s general manager of cities for western Canada, told the Times Colonist, “Unfortunately, Bill 55 maintains key barriers to entry that have prevented ride-sharing from operating in B.C.”
“Uber will continue to advocate on behalf of British Columbians who have been hoping for ride-sharing for many years,” added van Hemmen.
When it comes to caps on ride-hailing vehicles, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena deferred answering questions from reporters to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), noting the latter will determine the number of ride-hailing cars and taxis on the road based on data.
“They’re going to look at where cars are needed and make sure there’s enough service in those areas,” said Trevena. The PTB wants to make sure ride-hailing cars don’t create gridlock, so its job will be to balance demand.
While Uber disagrees with the limitations of Bill 55, taxi companies disagree the provincial government is doing too much to control ride-hailing companies.
“I’m sorry, the taxi industry in British Columbia has been over-regulated for years,” said Victoria Taxi general manager Kevin Scott. “If you’re going to take away our business, be on the same playing level.”
Scott says taxi drivers work for a living, while a driver for companies like Uber is just a “Weekend Willy who wants to make a couple of bucks to get a case of beer for Saturday night.”
While ridesharing is not in B.C. yet, that hasn’t stopped organizations like the Vancouver Canucks, which partnered with Lyft for on-ice advertisements this week, as the hockey club’s official ridesharing partner.