Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ride-Hail Firms Can Apply to Operate in B.C. Sept. 3, Ahead of Launch This Year

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ride-Hail Firms Can Apply to Operate in B.C. Sept. 3, Ahead of Launch This Year

Article excerpt

B.C. to take ride-hail applications in September

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VICTORIA - The journey to bring ride-hailing to British Columbia came closer to a destination Monday as the provincial government announced it will start accepting applications in September for companies to enter the market.

Safety, insurance and penalty rules and regulations were updated, but still to come this summer are rules covering fares that drivers can charge, vehicle boundary zones and the numbers of vehicles allowed on the roads, said New Democrat Bowinn Ma.

There's no exact day when ride-hailing can start in B.C. and opinion varies from mid-September to as late as the end of the year.

Ma, who heads an all-party legislative committee that deals with ride-hailing, said the goal is to start by year's end, but a Transportation Ministry official said companies could be approved to operate as early as Sept. 16 or early fall.

"Right now we're expecting that new transportation network companies will be able to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board as of Sept. 3 and we're confident that people will be able to hail a ride through this new transportation network service by the end of the year," said Ma during a telephone news conference.

But at least one transportation network service company said it has difficulties with the new rules, especially B.C.'s plan to ensure all drivers hold commercial class 4 driver's licences, the same as taxi and limo drivers.

Lyft spokesman Aaron Zifkin said in a statement his company wants to bring ride-hailing to B.C. but the rules and regulations announced Monday impose unnecessary red tape and could result in a lesser version of the service for B.C.

He said the government's decision to stick with its plan to require all drivers to hold commercial class 4 licences does not improve safety, but increases wait times and benefits the taxi industry.

"Lyft does not currently operate ride-sharing in any jurisdiction that requires drivers to change their driver's licence to a commercial driver's licence," Zifkin said. …

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