Yellow Cab in Vancouver. (Wikimedia Commons)

B.C. launches talks with taxi industry about fees to aid disability services

Cabbies will also soon be able to buy same kind of insurance available to ride-hailing drivers

Taxi drivers in B.C. will soon be able to purchase the same kind of insurance available to the ride-hailing industry, the transportation minister said Thursday.

Claire Trevena said talks are also underway with the taxi industry to ensure sustained and improved services for passengers with disabilities.

The province has been working for several months with ICBC and the taxi industry to provide insurance based on the per-kilometre distance travelled with passengers in their vehicles, which is equivalent to what is offered to ride-hailing vehicles, she said in a statement.

“In the near future, taxi drivers who want this new product will be able to switch their insurance, with coverage beginning in the spring. Drivers who wish to keep their current form of coverage will not be affected.”

Trevena said talks are underway as well with the taxi industry to ensure sustained and improved services for passengers with disabilities. Those discussions involve providing the taxi industry with a portion of the 30-cent trip fee that ride-hailing companies must contribute toward a passenger accessibility fund because their licences don’t require them to provide vehicles for disabled passengers.

The minister’s announcement follows petitions filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the Vancouver Taxi Association alleging unfairness over the licence approvals for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.

Meanwhile, Uber has filed an injunction application in the Supreme Court after Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said city bylaw officers will ticket the company’s drivers operating there.

The taxi association documents, which ask the court to quash the licence approvals for Uber and Lyft, say the rules that require taxi firms to provide costly wheelchair accessible vehicles do not apply to the ride-hailing companies. A hearing is set for Tuesday in Vancouver.

OUR VIEW: McCallum’s futile crusade against Uber is embarrassing for SurreY (Surrey Now-Leader)

In an interview Tuesday, Trevena said it was “unfortunate” passengers with mobility issues could face service issues connected to disputes over the introduction of ride-hailing in B.C.

“We want people with mobility challenges and accessibility challenges to have as many options for transportation as possible,” she said.

Taxi association lawyer Peter Gall said the companies will argue in court that Uber and Lyft have unfair advantages over the taxi industry. The advantages include no restrictions on vehicle numbers or charge rates and no requirements to provide wheelchair accessible taxis, he said.

“If we’re going to do something which costs more, they should either have to provide the same service, which they can’t, or they should be contributing to the cost of the service,” he said.

Gall said taxi drivers will continue to pick up passengers with disabilities.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Lyftride hailingUber

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read