Vancouver/Fraser Valley – The rules for ride sharing have been released by the province of BC. The new overseeing body, the Passenger Transportation Board has already caused a few ruffled feathers.
Victoria had promised to have ride-hailing vehicles on the road by Christmas. The PTB will start accepting applications for companies to operate in BC on September 3. It is still very murky on where the service will be available. Right now, the wording states the “Lower Mainland, Whistler” region will include all of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Squamish-Lillooet.” However it’s not clear when any Valley service would be available.
So what about the cost? There won’t be a ceiling on maximum price. The minimum ride-hailing rate will be the same as the flag rate for a taxi in Metro Vancouver, roughly $3.25-$3.95. There are no price surge restrictions.
There are no fleet size restrictions, something that cab companies have to deal with.
Taxi Drivers in Surrey are upset that they can only (as other cabbies must) pick up within municipal boundaries to deliver their passengers BUT CAN NOT pick up outside of their jurisdiction.
Within hours of the announcement, the Vancouver Taxi Association wants an urgent meeting with Premier John Horgan to discuss ride-hailing. “The government has broken its promise to the taxi industry,” says spokesperson Carolyn Bauer.
To which, in a media release the Surrey Board of Trade said they are pleased that the Passenger Transportation Board has consulted with industry stakeholders and provided positive rules for ride-hailing services in BC. The BC Government will begin accepting applications on September 3, 2019 from companies seeking to provide commercial ride-hailing in BC.
“However, the Surrey Board of Trade is disappointed that Class 4 licence requirements continue to be a part of the regulation. This needs to be revisited by government to enable full market participation,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“Surrey, who has been starved of transit and transportation options, needs no restrictions on ride-hailing services and to those that want to participate, to give our business community and residents travel options.”
“The Surrey Board of Trade wants to see a level playing field for the taxi industry as well. That has always been a part of our ride-hailing industry position. The BC Government should open up municipal boundaries for all taxi companies in Metro Vancouver.”
The new regulations include:
- No limit on the ride-hailing fleet size, however, the Passenger Transportation Board says they may re-evaluate caps in the future.
- Ride-hailing companies cannot pick up around Canada Place during cruise ship days. There will be a staging area nearby.
- Flag rates for ride-hailing will be the same as taxi. That means the minimum rate will be same as getting into a cab. There will be no caps on rates which means ride-hailing companies can still use surge pricing. Rideshare companies won’t be able to use coupons or discount codes to reduce rates.
- Large regional boundaries for ride-hailing companies. Metro Vancouver is a region and vehicles can drop off outside of their boundaries but cannot pick up.
Lyft Statement on Passenger Transportation Board Rules: “We appreciate the Passenger Transportation Board’s decision to establish an innovative model that does not include municipal boundaries and caps at this time. While we are disappointed that the regulations do not include a provincial boundary, we are pleased that large geographic regions were taken into account,”says Peter Lukomskyj, General Manager of Lyft B.C.“Our vision is to one day offer our proven transportation network throughout the province, but the Class 4commercial licencing requirement will make it more difficult for us to deliver the reliable rides haring service B.C. residents have been requesting for years. We are committed to B.C. and will continue to work with the PTB and the Province to create the conditions for us to bring Lyft to the Lower Mainland before the end of the year, and to more regions throughout B.C. in the future.