Darryl Dyck/CP Ride-hailing companies like Uber could begin operations in British Columbia.
On Monday, the provincial government introduced legislation to allow ride hailing companies to operate in B.C., likely by late next year.
And with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena refusing to rule out a cap on ride-hailing cars, Timothy Burr Jr. with Lyft says that will affect how those services operate - or even if they can be in business here at all.
Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft will be allowed in British Columbia by the fall of 2019, but they will be operating in a market so tightly controlled, critics question whether they'll be able to thrive. On the other hand, taxi and ride-hailing drivers won't need separate chauffeur permits for each city they drive in.
Brail agreed that controlling rates is more in line with the taxi industry than typical ride-hailing models.
Thornthwaite said she hears often from people who are left stranded, including "young people who are walking home (from downtown Vancouver) at 2 a.m. across the Lions Gate Bridge because cabs will not take them home (to the North Shore)", she said.
The Passenger Transportation Amendment Act tabled today, if passed, will enable ICBC to develop a new insurance product for ride-hailing for fall of 2019, explains the government, while also bring "a new, data-driven approach to improve taxi service and ride-hailing opportunities, particularly at high-demand locations and peak times, by strengthening the Passenger Transportation Board's authority to determine fares, vehicle supply and operating areas".
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"Ride-hailing enterprises like Uber helped invent the gig economy, where jobs are created to be precarious, unstable, and mostly low-paying". "Today raises a lot of questions about the future of ride sharing in B.C".
Van Hemmen said that because the legislation doesn't directly address licence class, Uber and others will continue to lobby to have a Class 5 licence be the standard, if the driver has a safe record.
"The legislation now proposed raises a number of challenges".
But it's unclear when exactly the actual ride-hailing services will appear on B.C. roads. "Workers need a level playing field and more clout to deal with rich and powerful companies", B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger said in a statement.
The legislation also marks a notable shift in power from municipalities to the provincial regulator.
The federation is calling for changes that ensure ride-hailing companies can't classify their employees as independent contractors. "We've been in government for 16 months and we've made more progress than the previous government had in five years", he said.