Despite a report from an all-party committee that recommended rideshare drivers in BC not be required to hold a Class 4 license – the same required of taxi drivers – to operate, BC’s Transportation Minister Claire Trevena is pumping the brakes on that idea.
In its report, the committee said members agreed that ensuring safety “is paramount.”
However, there was uncertainty around whether or not the Class 4 licensing process “actually produces safer drivers.”
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In response to the report, Trevena penned a letter to the Passenger Transportation Board this week, stating that she does not support the recommendation that drivers be allowed to operate solely with a Class 5 license – the standard licence of issue in BC.
“I am a firm believer in safety and believe that a commercial class 4 driver license provides a safer atmosphere for passenger directed vehicle movements, with extra testing and a medical examination completed at time of application and in routine intervals thereafter,” she writes.
Her response was in line with what has been her stance on the subject, even before the report was released.
In an interview with Daily Hive last fall, Trevena also cited the need for safety as the reason she would like to see all drivers hold the Class 4.
“If you’re going to be earning money through driving people from place-to-place, you need to make that investment so that you can show you are safe,” she said at the time. “Anyone getting in as a passenger wants to know that the driver is as safe as possible.”
In response to Trevena’s letter, Lyft said its drivers with “regular licenses” provide millions of rides per week.
“Requiring British Columbians to obtain Class 4 commercial licences would unnecessarily keep responsible drivers with safe driving records and annual criminal background checks from economic opportunity,” the company said in statement to Daily Hive. “It would also result in longer wait times and less reliable service.”
At the end of the day, said Lyft, “British Columbians deserve the same level of service they have come to expect and enjoy in major cities across North America.”
The report itself was submitted following two days of testimony from 15 different people, along with 47 written submissions from municipalities, taxi associations, advocacy organizations, and other reports.
For now, Vancouver remains the largest city in North America without a ride-hailing service.