Surrey Board of Trade Urges Transportation Ministry to Implement Ridesharing by the End of 2018 

Today, the Surrey Board of Trade was in Vancouver to hear BC’s Transportation Minister advancement of the ridesharing industry in BC. Following the announcement the Surrey Board of Trade’s CEO, as part of the RidesharingNOW Coalition, reacted to the Minister’s announcement.

Minister Trevena said BC will bring in legislation in the early Fall of 2018 this all that will open the doors to allow ride-hailing companies to come to BC. The legislation will focus on consumer safety and enforcement, streamlining license applications for taxi drivers, supply and boundaries for taxis, and other passenger-directed vehicles, and working with ICBC to enable a modern insurance product.

“What the Lower Mainland needs is to have services such as Uber and Lyft – services already implemented in the majority of North America – brought in without further delay,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.  Ridesharing is currently available in hundreds of cities around the world, providing a new transportation option and flexible income opportunities for those wanting to drive. The Surrey Board of Trade understands that regulations are required to provide the needed support for innovative transportation options and reassure the public that the service is safe.

“Customer service, accountability, and reasonable prices are what Surrey and the Lower Mainland needs in transportation services,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. “Our members and residents have made it abundantly clear that the transportation status-quo is not working.”

With the timeline of tabling an enabling legislation in the Fall, and then ICBC developing a specific insurance product for ridesharing drivers, plus an application period, it will be late Fall 2019 before any ride-sharing will be legally available for BC.

Government’s action plan on ridesharing includes:

  • Retaining Hara to assist and advise government, and working with the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to further consult with industry, including major ridesharing stakeholders.
  • Implementing policy changes through the PTB.
  • Working with the PTB on data collection and analysis.

Government is preparing legislation for the fall session. The focus of the fall legislation will be:

  • Consumer safety, and enforcement.
  • Streamlining licence applications for drivers.
  • Supply and boundaries for taxis, and other passenger-directed vehicles (rideshares).
  • Working with ICBC to enable a modern insurance product.

A report, released in February 2018 by an all-party legislative committee, identified the need to modernize the Passenger Transportation Act. These recommendations, along with Hara’s report, will help government create a new regulatory framework and legislative changes that will pave the way for ridesharing to come to B.C.

The ministry will immediately begin working with the Passenger Transportation Board to implement a number of the changes Hara has recommended. They include:

  • Boosting the number of taxis to make it easier for people to get around, quickly.Hara suggests a 15% increase, which would translate to approximately 300 more cabs in the Lower Mainland, and 200 more cabs throughout the rest of the province.
  • Giving the taxi industry the flexibility to discount fares when trips are booked through an app.Customers like the convenience and security of booking and paying with an app. The PTB will better enable companies to use this technology as part of their approach to fares.
  • Equipping the PTB with better data to make smarter decisions on meeting transportation demand, including the number of accessible vehicles required.