After the province announced on Thursday that rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft in BC likely won’t be a go until fall of 2019, the BC Green Party said it is “incredibly disappointed by the news.”
In a statement, the party’s transportation spokesperson Adam Olsen said the Greens are “disappointed British Columbians will still not have ride-hailing by this winter.”
In his party’s view, “a better approach would be to modernize the taxi industry concurrently with bringing in ride-hailing.”
While his party is glad to see that the government has “committed to a path forward,” Olsen said there have been “a lot of broken promises” when it comes to the implementation of ride-hailing in the province.
The issue, he added, “has been treated like a political football by the two establishment parties due to its particular importance” in swing ridings.
“Our world and global economy are changing rapidly,” he added. “We cannot afford to allow political squabbles to stand in the way of delivering for the people who elected us to make these sometimes challenging decisions.”
Olsen’s comments come after BC’s transportation minister Clare Trevena announced on Thursday morning that the government is planning to add 500 more taxis to BC’s roads, while bringing in legislation this fall “that will open the doors to allow ride-hailing companies to come to BC.”
Trevena said the legislation will focus on consumer safety and enforcement, streamlining license applications for taxi drivers, supply and boundaries for taxis, and other passenger-directed vehicles, and working with ICBC to enable a modern insurance product.
“I know that people are looking for expanded transportation options very soon,” she said. “I want to reassure them that a lot of work is happening to get this accomplished but it is important that we get this right.”
Providing some background and context on her announcement, Trevena said there was “a lot of groundwork to do – especially with the taxi industry, to make sure that they’re ready and able to compete on a level playing field when new players are introduced.”
The idea, she continued, is to ensure that “good, local jobs” are not sacrificed, while at the same time, “laying the foundation for a made-in-BC solution.”
All told, the ministry said it expects applications from rideshare companies wanting to enter the market will be submitted to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to offer services to British Columbians by September 2019.