New laws not effective until next year
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
Returning home late at night after a great show on the Granville strip and planning to take a cab?
British Columbia’s government introduced the much-awaited ride-hailing legislation on November 19 with the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act. People in the province may expect to catch an Uber of Lyft as early as next year.
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a government press release that she wants the new legislation to be specifically designed for the province.
“This legislation is a milestone that gets ride-hailing right for British Columbia. My priority is to make sure British Columbians are safer on the roads, and together, with the committee, we will make sure we get the options British Columbians want, while making sure their rides are safe. These priorities are shared with all parties, and I look forward to receiving the recommendations of the committee.”
Upon the implementation of the bill, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) will determine and control the fare and the number of vehicles running on the road in particular areas.
Ride-sharing will make the life of Vancouverites much easier, since taking taxis has been an everyday struggle for many.
An employee of a riding-sharing company—who wished to remain unnamed so the information he disclosed does not interfere with his job—said in an interview with the Other Press that BC ride-hailing services have struggled to keep up with the need.
“The demand has been excessive, which pushed the government to pass the legislation,” he said. “The taxi services are working on the entire system so that the customers do not face any glitches while the product is out there. App testing is being done on a regular basis. The background check[s] of all the drivers are being carried out for the safety of passengers.”
The whole industry is competitive, and the government and taxi service companies have all been readying themselves for the blow. Ride-sharing drivers will require a Class 4 license. The PTB is currently facing a shortage of drivers as the license takes time to obtain and everyone needs to go through medical and criminal checks. The vehicles have to be fully covered by insurance, which is what causing much of the delay right now. No deadline has been set so far but the new legislation is likely to come into effect in 2019.
The employee also said that his company is in the middle of the hiring process.
“We are hiring drivers right now,” he said. “It is a lengthy process as it involves screening their experience, medical history, criminal record, and background. It is essential to ensure the passengers are safe, which is our biggest concern. Everything is being worked upon.”
He said that the legislation has been needed for a long time and will be a very welcome improvement for British Columbians.
“We see the struggle of people every day during the peak time. It was a regular stress for passengers.”
The bill requires changes to be made to several existing bills including the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, Passenger Transportation Act, Commercial Transport Act, and Motor Vehicle Act.