Ride hailing is operating in Toronto and other North American cities, but B.C. hasn’t licensed any services yet. (Flickr)

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board has released rules for ride hailing companies that want to operate in the province, including larger regions than those imposed on taxi services.

Ride hailing companies such as Lyft, which has indicated it will expand to B.C., and Uber, which operates in other large cities, can be licensed for a single operating zone that includes Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Squamish-Whistler, or other large regions of the province.

Board chair Catherine Read acknowledged Monday that taxi companies are opposed to this, because the board continues to restrict their pickup zones to Surrey and other historical operating limits of competing taxi companies.

Read said the minimum “flag rate” charged by taxis to pick up a customer will also apply to ride hailing companies, but higher “surge pricing” rates will be allowed so ride hailing providers will be attracted to serve peak demand times where taxis have often run short of cars.

The number of ride hailing vehicles licenced for each zone will not be limited at first. Ride hailing fleets take time to build up, and that is especially the case for B.C. where a Class 4 commercial driver’s licence is required, Read said.

“No one else in Canada caps fleet size, and we’re not capping fleet size either.”

Regional district boundaries are used to define five ride hailing operating zones in B.C.: Lower Mainland-Whistler, Capital, Vancouver Island outside the capital region, Okanagan-Kootenay-Boundary-Cariboo and a fifth region taking in the rest of the province. Once they apply, operators can specify which part of the region they wish to provide service for.

Lyft representative Peter Lukomskyj said the company was looking for a province-wide operation rather than region by region, but it appreciates that taxi-style municipal boundaries and fleet caps have not been imposed.

“Our vision is to one day offer our proven transportation network throughout the province, but the Class 4 commercial licensing requirement will make it more difficult for us to deliver the reliable ridesharing service B.C. residents have been requesting for years,” Lukomskyj said.

The board has released its application packages and details for those wishing to apply for a licence. Applications will be accepted starting Sept. 3, but Read said it will take time to process them, take submissions from those who want to comment, and have the board issue licences “later in this calendar year.”

Ride hailing companies will not be required to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles. Legislation passed by the B.C. NDP government this spring provides for a 30-cent fee on every trip in a non-accessible vehicle, and has indicated the money will be put toward disability access.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Nelson Innovation Centre opens in Railtown

Centre will provide networking, training and workspace for all things tech

New seniors care facility in Nelson to be built at Mount St. Francis site

Mount St. Francis hasn’t been in use since 2005

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read