Delta to vote on motion to suspend introducing ridesharing in BC

Sep 13 2019, 10:16 am

A former Mayor and current City Councillor has introduced a motion that, if passed, could block companies like Uber and Lyft from operating in Delta.

The motion will be discussed during a council meeting Monday. It argues against several of the rules and regulations included in the BC Passenger Transit Board (PTB)’s operational policy.

“If implemented, [the policy] will allow ride-hailing firms to compete against British Columbia’s taxi companies… without having to comply with the same onerous restrictions and requirements that the PTB requires taxi companies to comply with,” wrote Lois Jackson.

Jackson makes similar arguments in her motion to Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, who recently vowed to block ride-hailing companies in Surrey by not giving them business licenses.

“The PTB’s Operational Policy will allow ride-hailing companies to operate unlimited numbers of vehicles,” says Jackson. “Whereas the PTB severely limits and dictates the specific number of taxis that individual taxi companies are allowed to operate.”

She also argues that the policy would exempt ride-hailing companies from having to operate accessible vehicles for people with disabilities, whereas taxi companies are required to operate accessible vehicles and train their drivers.

Other issues that Jackson brings up include a lack of consultation of the policy with local municipalities and districts, TransLink and BC Transit, the general public, and advocacy groups for the elderly and those with disabilities.

If the motion were passed, the City of Delta would oppose the PTB’s operational policy for rideshare companies and would request that “its Operational Policy for ride-hailing companies be withdrawn.” The city would also request a public consultation process for the policy.

Surrey Mayor wants to stop rideshare but has no authority

Councillor Jackson isn’t the only person trying to put the brakes on ride-hailing. Earlier this week, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum made a pledge to taxi drivers — essentially, he said that he wouldn’t be giving business licenses to companies like Uber or Lyft.

He introduces similar arguments as Jackson, saying that the PTB’s rules regarding fleet size and operating areas give rideshare companies an “un-level playing field” against taxi companies.

“I’m telling you today we will not be issuing any business licenses to ridesharing companies in Surrey,” said McCallum, on Tuesday.

However, the provincial government has firmly stated that municipal authorities do not have any jurisdiction on where and how ride-hailing companies can operate.

In a statement to Daily Hive, the BC Ministry of Transportation explained that neither the City of Surrey nor any municipality could prevent rideshare companies from operating.

“The Board is responsible for the regulation of taxis and ride-hail vehicles. The Board has sole responsibility to control supply, boundaries, and rates.”

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