UBCM rejects ridehailing changes for rural areas

Towns without taxis, transit would benefit, Enderby councillor says


The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) on September 27 rejected by 51.7% a motion to ask Victoria to amend the Passenger Transportation Act to establish area-based, tiered rules for ride-hailing services in small rural and remote communities outside of the Lower Mainland

A resolution from the Interior community of Enderby said the province has created an onerous regulatory system that prohibits the establishment of ride-hailing services outside the Lower Mainland.

The resolution noted the government has “created a regulatory framework permitting transportation network services to operate in B.C., which provides a passenger transportation option to address the significant public need for vehicles-for-hire and, in turn, reduce impaired driving, improve the ability of seniors and persons with barriers to access needed resources, and stimulate economic development.”

Ride hailing is expected to be implemented throughout B.C. later this year.

Enderby Coun. Brian Schreiner said small communities without taxi or transit services would be the greatest beneficiaries of such services. He said those services could assist the elderly or handicapped with getting to health services.

But, he said, the province’s demand that ride-hailing drivers have Class 4 rather than standard Class 5 licences establishes a heavy burden not in place in other provinces.

For some reason it’s thought that if you're a class 4 driver you're better than a Class 5,” Schreiner said.

“We want it to be safe but in a small community like ours we have no taxi service, no transit service. Our seniors can’t get to doctors and can’t get to drug stores. We’re just looking for a level playing field,” he said.

The approved motion asks Victoria to amend the Passenger Transportation Act to “enable viable and competitive transportation network services in small rural and remote communities as well as other communities outside of the Lower Mainland.”

Burnaby Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said while there are gaps in the taxi system, “what they have come up with doesn’t really help.

Delta Coun. Dylan Kruger said polled residents in Delta, Surrey and White Rock “want ridehailing and they want it desperately.”

“We really need to listen to the people,” he said.