Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has been defending the NDP government’s plan to regulate mobile ride-hailing services. (Hansard TV)

Opposition targets licence restriction on B.C. ride hailing

Green MLA Adam Olsen says ordinary licence should be enough

As the B.C. NDP government’s legislation to regulate smart phone ride hailing services works its way through the legislature, opposition MLAs are calling for an ordinary driver’s licence to be enough to drive an Uber or Lyft-style service.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson continued his party’s push for changes to the legislation this week, calling the NDP plan to expand the Passenger Transportation Board a “high-handed central bureaucracy” with too many restrictions.

Wilkinson wants B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver to support amendments that would remove the requirement for a class four driver’s licence, the same as needed to drive a school bus. Wilkinson has also called for the province to allow private insurers to cover part-time drivers using their own vehicles.

With the current minority government, Green support would be enough to impose changes to the NDP legislation, before the province begins taking licence applications from ride-hailing services next fall.

In the initial debate on the bill, Green MLA Adam Olsen spoke in favour of allowing ordinary class five licences. Olsen noted the government’s own consultant recommended those licences are sufficient for taxi or ride-hailing drivers, “as long as they’re coupled with additional training and minimum driving requirements such as age or driving record.”

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has argued that people who want to drive for money should all follow the same rules, and a class four commercial licence is needed. Trevena has also stressed the need to restrict how many drivers are licensed, to prevent “gridlock” seen in cities like New York.

Olsen noted that ride-hailing isn’t just a big-city service, but is in demand on Salt Spring Island in his constituency and in other small communities that have no taxi service.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy served on the all-party committee that considered ride hailing last year. That committee recommended class five licences are sufficient. Class four requires a test to obtain a learner’s permit and a volume of commercial driving information that prepares people to operate vehicles such as transit or school buses. Sturdy said waiting list and costs for training courses and licensing are excessive.

RELATED: Expect ride hailing by 2020, Premier Horgan says

In debate in the legislature, Sturdy said ride-hailing is not only available in all large Canadian cities except Vancouver, it’s up and running in North Battleford, Sask., with a population of less than 14,000 people.

“Even Syria, with all its problems, has ride-sharing,” Sturdy told the legislature. “Russia has Uber, but we don’t.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureride hailing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: 24-hour closure coming to Tofino-Ucluelet highway this weekend

Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill will be shut down from 11 a.m. Feb. 22 to at 11 a.m. Feb. 23.

Ucluelet resident sounds alarm over ‘environmental disaster’

Central Westcoast Forest Society estimates bridge project at Hyphocus Island could cost $1M.

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis senior teams take on the Island Championships

Senior girls play at Duncan Christian and senior boys at Nanaimo Christian this weekend.

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Most Read