Uber & Lyft expand to British Columbia

The provincial government could soon be giving the greenlight to ride-hailing services like Uber in BC.

Minister of Transportation Todd Stone along with Minister Responsible for Translink Peter Fassbender announced today in Vancouver that ride-sharing will become legal in British Columbia.

The issue has been under review by the provincial government for some time, as ride-sharing has expanded across the rest of the country, spanning from Calgary to Halifax.

The government aims to have ride-sharing available in British Columbia by December 2017.

The City of Vancouver has previously opposed ride-sharing services like Uber.

The stipulation to this announcement is that the Liberal government must be re-elected to ensure that ride-sharing will come to the province.

That same week, Uber posted a job ad for a "driver onboarding specialist", a key hiring position within the organization who would bring on new drivers and train them.

One of the biggest changes: An end to the rationing of taxi licenses. "We're putting a framework, we're wanting additional feedback from everyone to make sure whatever we do put in legislation is bathed in good feedback and good solid information".

The province will also put $1-million into helping create an app that allows the taxi sector to share dispatching and allow customers to hail a ride and pay for it in a similar fashion to ride-sharing.

Stone says taxi companies have shown support for allowing these services, as long as a level playing field is provided.

Stone adds drivers will have to follow the same regime including safe-driving and criminal record checks; their vehicle must also pass regular mechanical inspections.

Taxis will get preferential treatment in certain areas.

"From Vancouver to Victoria, Kelowna to Prince George, British Columbians want and need access to more safe, affordable, reliable transportation options", spokesperson Susie Heath said in an email.

Just days after hinting it could change the rules for Uber and other services, the B.C. government has scheduled an announcement about "modernizing" the taxi industry this morning.

Meggs says his primary concerns are around surge pricings and reports over rider safety.

  • Zachary Reyes