Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has been defending the NDP government’s plan to regulate mobile ride-hailing services. (Hansard TV)

Opposition targets licence restriction on B.C. ride hailing

Green MLA Adam Olsen says ordinary licence should be enough

As the B.C. NDP government’s legislation to regulate smart phone ride hailing services works its way through the legislature, opposition MLAs are calling for an ordinary driver’s licence to be enough to drive an Uber or Lyft-style service.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson continued his party’s push for changes to the legislation this week, calling the NDP plan to expand the Passenger Transportation Board a “high-handed central bureaucracy” with too many restrictions.

Wilkinson wants B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver to support amendments that would remove the requirement for a class four driver’s licence, the same as needed to drive a school bus. Wilkinson has also called for the province to allow private insurers to cover part-time drivers using their own vehicles.

With the current minority government, Green support would be enough to impose changes to the NDP legislation, before the province begins taking licence applications from ride-hailing services next fall.

In the initial debate on the bill, Green MLA Adam Olsen spoke in favour of allowing ordinary class five licences. Olsen noted the government’s own consultant recommended those licences are sufficient for taxi or ride-hailing drivers, “as long as they’re coupled with additional training and minimum driving requirements such as age or driving record.”

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has argued that people who want to drive for money should all follow the same rules, and a class four commercial licence is needed. Trevena has also stressed the need to restrict how many drivers are licensed, to prevent “gridlock” seen in cities like New York.

Olsen noted that ride-hailing isn’t just a big-city service, but is in demand on Salt Spring Island in his constituency and in other small communities that have no taxi service.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy served on the all-party committee that considered ride hailing last year. That committee recommended class five licences are sufficient. Class four requires a test to obtain a learner’s permit and a volume of commercial driving information that prepares people to operate vehicles such as transit or school buses. Sturdy said waiting list and costs for training courses and licensing are excessive.

RELATED: Expect ride hailing by 2020, Premier Horgan says

In debate in the legislature, Sturdy said ride-hailing is not only available in all large Canadian cities except Vancouver, it’s up and running in North Battleford, Sask., with a population of less than 14,000 people.

“Even Syria, with all its problems, has ride-sharing,” Sturdy told the legislature. “Russia has Uber, but we don’t.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

From the Hill: The millstone of a cannabis conviction

Richard Cannings writes about records expungement for cannabis convictions

Tips for avoiding Canada Revenue Agency scams

Grand Forks RCMP are asking residents to be vigilant.

Grand Forks celebrates the holidays with Santa Claus parade, light up

The Christmas tradition was a hit on Friday night.

RDKB receives funding for disaster response ‘work space’ in Midway

The work space and storage will be used by disaster response volunteers.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read