B.C. Liberals propose legislation that promises ridesharing by Valentine’s Day 2019

BC Liberal legislation to bring in ridesharing by February 2019 has taken the first step but is not expected to be passed into law. On Monday the Liberals introduced the legislation, which was prepared two years ago while they were in government.

“The NDP claims that it will take another year to two years before insurance is ready and ridesharing companies can even apply for a licence. The legislation we’re proposing today shows that claim is completely untrue,” Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone said.

“We have a ready-to-go framework that will allow British Columbians to take their Valentine on a date in an Uber or Lyft.”

The Liberals had time while in power to introduce the legislation and never did. The party made the promise that if it won the 2017 election ridesharing would have been in place under these rules by Christmas 2017.

Companies like Uber and Lyft are concerned the legislation proposed by the government is too restrictive. The NDP bill, if passed, would give the Passenger Transportation Board the power to set regional limits where ridesharing and taxi companies can pick up and drop off as well as control process, restrict fleet size and require all all ridesharing drivers to have Class 4 licences.

“Uber confirmed late last week that the NDP’s legislation would prevent them from operating in B.C.,” Liberal transportation critic Jordan Sturdy said. “Once again, NDP politicking and obstruction means B.C. is denied a critical service that the rest of the western world is able to enjoy.”

Stone worked on the Liberal legislation for two years when he was transportation minister. The process included public consultation and “modernized the taxi industry while opening the door to ridesharing companies.”

As part of the development of the 2016 legislation, ICBC completed extensive work creating an insurance product for new entrants, as well as a new part-time product for the taxi industry.

The legislation includes the removal of restrictions related to supply so that the number of cars on B.C.’s roads from both existing and new operators would be determined by consumer demand. It also removes boundary restrictions so drivers have the same access to provide services wherever and whenever a passenger needs a ride and provides a framework for replacing the requirement of a Class 4 driver’s licence with Class 5 for all drivers of existing and new operators.

WATCH HERE: Uber reacts to NDP ridesharing bill

“Following 18 months of delay and duplication, the NDP has brought forward legislation that kills any chance of ridesharing companies coming to B.C.,” Stone said. “Under the NDP, it appears the soonest we could have ridesharing is one year from now, or maybe two years, or more likely, never.”

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena was asked multiple times on Monday whether the government’s legislation would be a failure if Uber and Lyft never came to British Columbia.

“Very confident our legislation will open the service for ride-hailing companies to apply if they so choose,” Trevena said.

The BC Liberals proposed an amendment to the government legislation that would have taken away the ability of the Passenger Transportation Board to set a minimum and maximum price. It did not pass.

The Greens and Liberals have also been discussing an amendment that would take away the provision for a Class 4 licence requirement. But the Greens are concerned that it would cause unforeseen problems with the existing industry and potentially jeopardize safety.

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