For Immediate Release – April 21, 2016
The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) is advocating to the BC Government to introduce Ride-sharing Legislation. “The Surrey Board of Trade had the benefit of discussing the impacts of Ride-sharing with Minister Peter Fassbender, Taxi Members, Taxi Industry representatives and UBER at our recent Transportation Advocacy Team meeting. After consideration, the SBOT supports the introduction of Ride-Sharing Legislation in BC,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.
The Surrey Board of Trade is also seeking province-wide support for Ride-Sharing Legislation through the BC Chamber of Commerce, to:
- Bring forward ride-sharing regulations that establish province-wide rules for safety and consumer protection.
- Evaluate and remove unnecessary red tape on existing transportation providers.
“There will be an economic impact upon the taxi industry and we encourage the BC Government to take steps to mitigate this impact by reviewing the current regulatory regime on the taxi industry and other transportation providers,” stated Huberman.
Ride-sharing, the ability of an average driver who has been through appropriate safety screening to use their personal vehicle to connect with a rider via a smartphone, is a key sector in the new sharing economy. Ride-sharing is currently available in hundreds of cities around the world, providing a new transportation option and flexible income opportunities for those wanting to drive. Regulations are required to provide needed support for innovative transportation options and reassure the public that this service is safe.
The sharing economy is providing new economic opportunities for individuals and small businesses to increase the utilization of their assets by connecting with new customers via technology. PWC estimates that in 2013 the sharing economy generated $15B in annual revenue compared to $240B in the traditional rental sector. By 2025, it estimates that both sectors will grow to reach $335B for combined revenue of $670B.
Ride-sharing and traditional transportation models can complement each other to better serve British Columbia, just as they do in communities across Canada and around the world. Rather than competing with taxi, apps like Uber, Lyft and others appear to be growing the overall transportation market. This is most likely because ride-sharing has attracted a whole new group of passengers, people who cannot regularly afford taxis or drive themselves instead. In Los Angeles, for example, the for-hire vehicle market (which includes taxis, private cars and ride-sharing) grew by nearly 400% in Uber’s first three years. According to Portland’s regulator, the total number of taxi and ride-sharing trips in the city grew by more than 40% in the first 3 months after Uber and Lyft’s arrival.
The BC government has established the Passenger Transportation Act, ICBC, Motor Vehicle Act and the SBOT encourages the BC Government to provide a province-wide safety standard for ride-sharing.
MORE INFORMATION ON SBOT POLICY
BC residents are looking for more transportation options and ways to increase the affordability of living in Metro Vancouver and throughout the province. Ridesharing provides a key opportunity. It has been shown to:
- Grow the number of rides in a city, e.g., Portland, Denver
- Decrease impaired driving e.g., MADD, Temple University
- Complement existing public transit, e.g., Lyft, Uber
- Reduce car ownership, e.g., LA Times, Suzuki Foundation
- Encourage passengers to share rides & reduce congestion, e.g., UberPOOL (how it works, why it helps put more people in fewer cars)
Over 70 jurisdictions have adopted regulations that embrace ridesharing. The City of Edmonton was the first Canadian jurisdiction to adopt such rules, and Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary, the province of Quebec, and many other Canadian jurisdictions are bringing forward regulations this spring. The Competition Bureau of Canada has encouraged regulators to support competitive markets by regulating ride-sharing and reducing unnecessary red tape on traditional transportation providers.
Ride-sharing regulations should be focused on enabling this innovative transportation option, while ensuring public safety and consumer protection. Below are key components of a regulatory regime for ride-sharing:
- Ride-sharing companies must obtain a provincial license and pay fees.
- Ride-sharing drivers must have a valid, standard driver’s licence issued by Province.
- To be allowed on the platform, ride-sharing drivers must:
- Pass a federal criminal background check;
- Pass an annual vehicle inspection by a certified mechanic;
- Have valid insurance that meets the requirements established by the Province, and;
- Have a safe driving record.
- Ride-sharing drivers can only provide service through the use of an app, and the app must provide the customer with the name and photo of the driver, make and model of the vehicle, and license plate number prior to the trip commencing. This means that no ride is anonymous and provides assurance to the rider that the driver has been authorized to be on the digital platform.
- The app must provide GPS tracking and allow the rider to share their ride in real time with friends and loved ones, meaning that every trip is tracked.
- Riders must be provided the fare rate in the app, have the ability to estimate the cost of their fare, and only make payment for the trip electronically through the smartphone app. This also helps reduce the chance of the driver becoming a target for theft.
- The rider must have the ability to rate every ride through the app to help ensure high quality and safe service.
- Ride-sharing companies must have 24/7 customer service to respond in a timely manner to complaints.
- Ride-sharing drivers would not be permitted to hail, accept cash or use telephone dispatch services, leaving this market to the exclusive domain of taxi companies.
Regulators in some jurisdictions such as Edmonton have also taken steps to remove unnecessary restrictions from traditional transportation providers, including allowing taxi companies to establish their own training and customer service standards, and set prices when a trip is arranged via a smartphone app that has a fare estimate option.