BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver has introduced a bill to enable ridesharing here, days after the BC NDP government said it was delaying rideshare until at least 2018.
Weaver, who is a MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, already put forward a similar rideshare bill twice under the previous BC Liberals government, to no avail.
Now, Weaver is up against the BC NDP, who are his partners in a confidence and supply agreement to keep the minority government in power.
If Weaver’s rideshare bill garners full support from his own party and the BC Liberals, it’s possible it could pass without the help of the BC NDP.
The BC Liberals have 42 seats, the BC NDP 41, and the BC Greens 3. The speaker would cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie.
And, it does follow commitments from all three parties to bring in ridesharing, made during the BC election campaign earlier this year.
In a release, Weaver urged the BC NDP government to call his bill forward for debate, so British Columbians are able to have an “open” discussion on the issue.
“There has been much fear-mongering and politicization of this issue,” he said.
“Parties have rightly raised concerns about how ridesharing will impact existing businesses and public safety. But our job as leaders is to offer solutions.
“Let’s take this opportunity to do things differently be engaging in a substantive policy-based discussion about this issue that British Columbians have awaited for far too long.”
Weaver’s bill follows an announcement this week from the BC NDP that they would be tapping the brakes on its plan to bring rideshare to BC.
Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the government had hired “industry expert” Dan Hara to advise them on how to regulate rideshare.
Hara would consult with and help prepare the taxi industry as part of his work, which is expected to be complete in early 2018, said the ministry.
The Vancouver taxi industry has been vehemently against services like Uber and Lyft, calling for a cap on the number of rideshare drivers allowed.
Meanwhile, in August, Uber sent out a fleet of cars to map Metro Vancouver, in anticipation of rideshare being permitted here soon.
The BC NDP now says legislation enabling ridesharing in BC could be expected in fall 2018 – a far cry from what voters were led to believe during the election campaign.
Earlier this year, the BC Greens promised ridesharing by fall 2017, meanwhile the BC Liberals said they would bring in rideshare by December 2017.
The BC NDP initially told Daily Hive they weren’t the party to vote for if you cared about rideshare. However, they then changed their mind, also promising it in 2017.
In his release, Weaver said Vancouver had to address emerging technologies head-on to become a leader in the “creative economy.”
“Vancouver is the largest city in North America to not regulate this industry. Meanwhile, ride-hailing companies are operating without proper oversight, insurance or regulation.”
“It’s time we had a frank and substantive debate on the details of this issue.”