B.C. to offer more details on ride-hailing plans

Ministry of Transportation to facilitate technical briefing with media


British Columbians can expect more details on the future of ride-hailing after the government introduces the passenger transportation amendment act on Monday.

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena will make herself available to media in Victoria for a technical briefing at 1:45 p.m. on November 19, followed by a question and answer session.

B.C. is home to the largest city in North America without ride-hailing services.

The BC NDP, BC Liberals and BC Greens all committed in their spring 2017 platforms to launch ride-hailing services in the province by the end of that year.

Those promises never came to fruition after the BC NDP formed a minority government propped up by the BC Greens.

Instead, the government ordered a report on the taxi industry from consultant Dan Hara, who had previously written a report on taxis for the City of Vancouver, to help inform any decisions on ride hailing.

Hara’s report, released in July 2018, recommended boosting taxi fleets throughout the province by up to 15%.

This 15% increase would translate into about 300 more cabs in the Lower Mainland and about 200 more cabs in the rest of the province for a total of 500 additional vehicles, according to Trevena.

The report also suggested the province allow for more price flexibility for the taxi industry — a hallmark of the surge-pricing model used by ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber Technologies Inc.

Trevena said her government accepted the recommendation and would give the taxi industry the chance to discount fares when trips are bought through an app.