U.S.-based Lyft has focused its marketing on providing safe transportation for women. (Lyft)

Ride hailing rules leave B.C. waiting for minister’s final word

Commercial driver’s licence still an obstacle for participants

Established ride-hailing companies expressed cautious optimism with the B.C. government’s response to their case for easing strict limits on driver numbers and their boundaries.

San Francisco-based Lyft has emphasized the safety offered by service, particularly for women and people traveling at night, and the company’s track record in the U.S. of extending the service beyond urban areas. The company urged Transportation Minister Claire Trevena to adopt the recommendations.

Benefits include “reduced impaired driving, encouraging local economic opportunities and expanding the reach of public transit,” Lyft spokesperson Traci Lee said.

Uber, the other major U.S. operator in Canadian cities, is waiting for Trevena to decide on the final regulations before commenting.

Alberta-based TappCar echoed Trevena’s concern about safety, supporting the Class 4 licence requirement as well as limits on drivers.

“The recommendations made by this committee would steer B.C. towards a wild west rideshare economy, where safety would take a back seat to deregulation,” said Tappcar spokeperson Pascal Ryffel.

The B.C. legislation began with expanding the taxi model, and extending the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board’s authority to regulate taxis and inter-city buses.

Trevena said Tuesday she needs to study the ride hailing report before commenting on the recommendations, then emerged an hour later to tell reporters the Class 4 restriction is staying in place.

B.C. Liberal MLA Peter Milobar said the Class 4 restriction is a major problem, given the costs and up to five months waiting time to have medical, vehicle and driving tests done. He said people who can safely drive a sports team or car pool with a Class 5 licence should be able to drive for ride-hailing companies, if they pass the background and vehicle checks.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. reports that the wait time for a Class 4 road test was 31 days province-wide during 2018. Time required by ICBC to review an application and driving record is currently 32 days. The target for next year is to decrease that to 10 days, and additional road test capacity can be added to handle increased road tests from ride hailing drivers, ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan said.

The committee of four B.C. Liberals, four NDP and one Green voted narrowly against the Class 4 licensing measure. NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon withdrew from the final deliberations after opposition MLAs pointed out his father is a long-time taxi driver in Victoria.

READ MORE: NDP MLA leaves committee over taxi conflict

READ MORE: MLAs call for no caps, boundaries for drivers

Trevena said she was considering the ride hailing industry’s submissions that capping the number of drivers and restricting their operating area doesn’t work for app-based services where drivers may only participate occasionally.

“It’s clear that the public and the app-based ride hailing industry are concerned about B.C. adopting a regulatory model that is overly restrictive,” Trevena said, reading from a prepared statement. “I will be working in the coming weeks and months to promote flexibility around key issues of supply, boundaries and pricing to prepare for the introduction of ride hailing this fall.”

Class 4 licences are required to drive a taxi, ambulance, or a bus or limousine with up to nine passengers. Applicants must be at least 19, with two years of non-learner driving experience and driving records issued by every jurisdiction they have driven in for the past three years.

The testing for a Class 4 licence isn’t easy. ICBC reported to the committee that they see a 60-per-cent failure rate for the written knowledge test, which costs $15, a 20 per cent failure rate for the pre-trip test and 40 per cent failure for the first attempt at the road test for a Class 4 licence.

The road test for a commercial licence costs $40, the required medical exam is $28 and a $31 licence fee applies for people moving to B.C. and getting a new licence issued.

The medical exam must be filled out by a doctor and regular re-examinations are required for commercial licences. Milobar said the waiting time for medical forms is a significant problem.

Vehicle inspections will also be required for ride hailing drivers, and the committee recommended that vehicles more than 10 years old should not be used for ride hailing.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

2019 Federal election: Courtenay-Alberni candidates address seniors issues

“What are your party’s plans to ease the stress realized by seniors on fixed incomes?”

WATCH: Jordan now a key member on staff at Parksville business

Disability Awareness Month celebrated around province

RDN wants to play role in Ballenas track upgrade

Bringing dilapidated facility up to standard could cost close to $1M

Qualicum Beach joins in on global climate strike

Participants urge government to adequately address climate crisis

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read