EDITORIAL: A B.C.-specific approach to ride-hailing is on the way

Even when B.C. finally appears to be joining the 21st century of transportation, the leap comes with many questioning the logic.

After many years of not doing much — of which both the B.C. Liberal and B.C. NDP governments are guilty — we finally learned this week that ride-hailing services will be coming to the province this fall.

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As the saying goes, better late than never — and late it is, as those who have travelled virtually anywhere else in the world and sampled the variety of transportation options available can attest.

Of course, B.C. will be different than every other jurisdiction in North America, with rules that will accompany the introduction of Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services.

In B.C., ride-hailing drivers will be required to have a class 4 (commercial) driver’s licence, just as taxi drivers are required to have.

The Passenger Transportation Board will determine whether ride-hailing drivers will be limited to operating within geographical boundaries (as is now the case with taxi companies) and whether there should be a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles are permitted to operate locally and provincially.

Aaron Zifkin, Lyft’s managing director for Canada, is on record as saying his company requires no commercial driver’s licence anywhere else in North America, nor is it constrained by boundaries or a cap on vehicle numbers.

Ride-hailing is popular because of the availability of vehicles, the almost instant arrivals and the flat rates offered, all of which are not as attractive when using taxis in smaller cities like Kamloops.

The power to determine how ride-hailing works in B.C. lies with the Passenger Transportation Board. As the board finalizes the rules, perhaps it can examine an issue that remains under the radar — that of how much of a fare is taken by Uber and Lyft, which by some estimates is as much as 25 per cent.

© Kamloops This Week


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