BC Liberal legislation would bring ridesharing to B.C. within 90 days

VICTORIA (November 26, 2018) – As the NDP government ends debate on their “maybe-never” ridesharing legislation, the BC Liberals are proposing a separate piece of legislation that would bring ridesharing to B.C. by Valentine’s Day.

Transportation critic and West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy will introduce Miscellaneous Statutes (Passenger Transportation Services) Amendment Act, 2018 as a Private Members Bill (PMB). This PMB is an exact copy of legislation written as a government bill in 2016 and provides a framework for insurance products.

“The NDP claims that it will take another year to two years before insurance is ready and ridesharing companies can even apply for a license. The legislation we’re proposing today shows that claim is completely untrue,” says Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone. “We have a ready-to-go framework that will allow British Columbians to take their Valentine on a date in an Uber or Lyft.”

“Uber confirmed late last week that the NDP’s legislation would prevent them from operating in B.C.,” says Sturdy. “Once again, NDP politicking and obstruction means B.C. is denied a critical service that the rest of the western world is able to enjoy.”

The BC Liberals started working on ridesharing legislation and insurance in 2014. Over the course of two years, then-Transportation Minister Todd Stone consulted and carefully developed a framework that modernized the taxi industry while opening the door to ridesharing companies currently operating around the globe.

As part of the development of the 2016 legislation, ICBC completed extensive work creating an insurance product for new entrants, as well as a new part time product for the taxi industry (estimated to provide the industry up to 25% savings).

“Following 18 months of delay and duplication, the NDP has brought forward legislation that kills any chance of ridesharing companies coming to B.C.,” says Stone, who originally authored the BC Liberal legislation. “Under the NDP, it appears the soonest we could have ridesharing is one year from now, or maybe two years, or more likely, never.”

“The NDP are playing games with a service that British Columbians want now,” said Sturdy. “In an effort to create further delays, they are referring the same questions back to the same Standing Committee, whose recommendations on the same issues were already fundamentally ignored once by this minister. It’s a disservice to British Columbians who are demanding more transportation options. We urge the NDP and Green Party to abandon their legislation and call our Private Members Bill for debate immediately.”

The BC Liberal Private Members Bill paves the way for actual ride-sharing in British Columbia, thus providing more choice and convenience in transportation options for consumers.

It allows for:

•        A level playing field for existing and new operators including driver and vehicle standards, insurance requirements and service and supply flexibility

•        Removal of restrictions related to supply so that the number of cars on B.C.’s roads from both existing and new operators would be determined by consumer demand

•        Removal of boundary restrictions so drivers have the same access to provide services wherever and whenever a passenger needs a ride

•        Removal of local government ability to require chauffer permits, business licenses, and other restrictive requirements

•        Standardized provincial licensing, safety, enforcement and consumer protection requirements

•        Removal of red tape and overlap within the system which will save all drivers money

•        Provisions to ensure availability of accessible services

•        A framework for replacing the requirement of a Class 4 driver’s license with Class 5 for all drivers of existing and new operators.

 

The bill ensures a level playing field is in place through requirements that highlight consumer and driver safety, including:

•        Minimum 19 years of age for drivers and possession of an unrestricted driver’s license

•        Criminal record checks

•        Driver record checks

•        Vehicle inspections

 

As well, this bill would facilitate the provision of automobile insurance for all new operators, allowing for:

•        The possibility of such insurance to be provided by private sector operators, in a timely manner.

•        Ensuring a level playing field related to insurance coverages and cost for both existing and new operators.

It’s time to welcome ride sharing to British Columbia, and do so now with this Bill, not years from now with the government’s Bill.

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