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.

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

Just Posted

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

PHOTOS: Roos go 1-1 over the weekend

Roos dominated the River Kings 8-3 on Saturday and lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to the Rampage on Sunday

Ulkatcho, Lhoosk’uz Dené sign agreements in support of Blackwater Mine project

Agreements commit to share portion of provincial mineral tax revenue collected from planned mine

B.C. Premier calls Quesnel a ‘hub of innovation’ in face of forestry downturn

Premier John Horgan tours Forestry Innovation Centre and meets with mayor, community representatives

Up to 45 exhibitors will be at Quesnel Job and Information Fair

Bring your resumé and meet representatives from the RCMP, Northern Health and many more

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Most Read