White Rock council votes against new rideshare policies

Sep 16 2019, 12:28 pm

Another municipal government in Metro Vancouver has decided to reject the framework established for ridehailing companies looking to operate in BC.

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White Rock city council voted on Friday to send a letter to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), requesting the independent provincial agency to suspend ridehailing rules that allow companies to operate without municipal boundaries and fleet size limits.

Council believes there has been insufficient consultation with the public, municipal governments, regional districts, public transit authorities, and disability advocacy organizations. For the latter group, current policies would enable ridehailing companies to not operate any accessible vehicles, unlike the current regulations for taxis.

Additionally, council also approved a request to have municipalities across the province attending the Union of BC Municipalities annual convention, held in Vancouver later this month, vote on sending a letter to the PTB to withdraw its operational policy for ridehailing, and address the concerns that are perceived to provide ridehailing with an unfair advantage over taxis.

White Rock is the latest city in the region to express its disapproval of ridehailing, joining Surrey, whose mayor vowed to require business licenses for ridehailing to operate in the city.

Delta’s council is also slated to deliberate and vote on ridehailing today over similar concerns.

In response to the remarks by Surrey mayor Doug McCallum, the provincial government stated that municipal governments do not have any authority over regulating the supply and operational boundaries of ridehailing, which is a provincial-level responsibility governed by the PTB. Passing any bylaw, such as a municipal requirement for a business license, would violate provincial policies.

The PTB began accepting ridehailing applications from companies early this month. All ridehailing regulations established by the PTB are in force as of today, September 16, but companies like Uber and Lyft do not expect their applications to be approved until later in the fall, with their services rolled out shortly after in time for the holiday season.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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