Ride-hailing services may hit B.C. roads by September

The B.C. government says companies hoping to operate ride-hailing services in the province will be able to submit applications and potentially operate by September.

While ride-hailing services are available in most jurisdictions across North America, Metro Vancouver is known to be the largest region in the continent without transportation options such as Lyft or Uber.

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That will change Sept. 3, when the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) begins accepting applications from companies wishing to operate within the province.

The quickest any of these companies will be able to hit the roads will be Sept. 16, when all the related regulations will be in full force.

Most jurisdictions allow private companies to determine their own prices and supply of vehicles, however, the cabinet-appointed PTB will be taking on those responsibilities in B.C.

The government will also require that drivers possess Class 4 licences, which are less ubiquitous compared with Class 5 licences and require higher levels of testing.

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said her organization was pleased the PTB would soon begin accepting applications.

“However, the Surrey Board of Trade is disappointed that Class 4 licence requirements are a part of the regulation. This needs to be revisited by government to enable full market participation in the ride-hailing industry,” she said in a statement.

The Surrey Board of Trade is advocating for the scrapping of any geographic boundaries for drivers, permitting marked-based pricing and allowing drivers to possess Class 5 licences.

"Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall, with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry," B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in a statement.


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