VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It won’t be item number one, but ride hailing will definitely be on the agenda when the BC legislature reconvenes this fall.
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has announced plans to re-introduce his Ridesharing Enabling Act in October, which would pave the way for companies like Lyft and Uber to start operating in the province.
“We believe it’s critical to send a signal to the international community that we’re willing to embrace that new technology, and I’m convinced we’ll be able to do that collectively and collaboratively,” he says.
Weaver’s bill has been introduced twice before, most recently in February 2017.
Since then, all three major provincial parties have campaigned on bringing in ride hailing, though Premier John Horgan has been non-specific about how an NDP government would do that.
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Weaver says the major difference between the upcoming legislation and previous versions is that ICBC will be instructed to create an insurance category specifically for ride-hailing vehicles.
“I’ve told [the premier] that I will be bringing this in in October, and he’s supportive,” Weaver adds.
The lack of a regulatory framework has not prevented ride hailing companies from popping up in Vancouver anyway, Weaver points out.
“Raccoon Go has something like 300 cars in Vancouver… it’s here, but it’s operating under the table. We need to have a proper regulatory regime to allow competition in the marketplace, and to have regulation in the marketplace,” he says.
Horgan’s Chief of Staff Geoff Meggs was a very outspoken opponent of Uber during his time as a Vancouver city councillor, though he has insisted he will not have much influence over policy in his new role.
“The reliance on and demand for ridesharing is growing, and BC needs to be ready for it,” the BC NDP says in a statement issued today. It adds the premier will be working with “taxi drivers, taxi companies and ridesharing companies to create a truly fair approach… that doesn’t unfairly benefit – or punish – one group over the other.”
Before their government was defeated, the BC Liberals promised to bring in ride hailing by the end of this year while also introducing initiatives to help the taxi industry stay competitive.