A line of cars (Supplied by Robin Merriott)
The B.C. government has announced its regulations for allowing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in the province.
The government says the regulations focus on passenger, driver and company safety, and will allow companies to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board by the beginning of September of this year.
“Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall, with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government. We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise.”
These new regulations focus on company and driver safety and are intended to provide a framework for what companies can expect in advance of applying to the Passenger Transportation Board. Last month, Trevena wrote to the chair of the Passenger Transportation Board, promoting flexibility in the board’s decisions around boundaries, supply and fares. The minister also reconfirmed a minimum Class 4 licence will be required for drivers.
“People need to feel safe when they get into a ride-hailing vehicle, which is why police chiefs across B.C. are supportive of the Province’s new regulations, including the provincial record check,” said chief constable Neil Dubord, chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “These changes will go a long way to improve passenger safety in the industry.”
The suite of regulations enables the board to begin accepting applications from companies seeking to provide commercial ride-hailing in B.C. effective Sept. 3, 2019. The board will determine the supply, boundaries and fares charged to passengers. Those areas are the exclusive responsibility of the independent Passenger Transportation Board. Consultation with industry is currently underway, with decisions from the board expected this summer.
The ministry is protecting accessibility with a new “per-trip” fee to fund accessibility programs in the industry. Newly passed regulations will allow both rear entry and side entry accessible taxis and ride-hailing vehicles, so people with disabilities are supported and have more options to get around.
ICBC will have its new insurance product ready for the launch of ride-hailing in September. It is a blanket, per kilometre insurance product providing compulsory, third-party liability and accident benefits. The blanket insurance product will apply when the driver is providing ride-hailing services, with the driver’s own basic vehicle insurance policy applying in all other instances.
All regulations will be in force on Sept. 16, 2019, to support full implementation of ride-hailing services after the board decides on the applications it receives. You can see more information about the regulations here.