BC government will usher Uber onto taxi turf by December
Mar 09 2017
Included in the plan are measures created to protect the taxi industry, which, in its current state, would undoubtedly face new challenges competing with services such as Uber and Lyft.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the province consulted extensively with residents and the taxi industry to create a "made-in-B.C." solution for ride sharing.
The government will dedicate $1 million to the provincial taxicab industry to help it develop an app to compete with Uber.
"British Columbians have made it very clear that there is a demand for services that ride-hailing companies provide", said the minister.
It is a discussion that has pitted the taxi industry against the provincial government and could become an election issue.
Uber had aggressively lobbied the B.C. government for approval over the past year, arguing it needed a special licensing scheme for its drivers that was separate from traditional taxis. In addition, auto insurance provider ICBC will give $3.5 million to equip B.C. taxicabs with crash avoidance technology and improve the insurance system for ride-hailing.
According to the province, taxis will retain exclusive right to pick up people who flag rides on the side of the road and from those who phone dispatchers.
"Tallahassee was proud to be one of the first cities in the state to approve favorable ridesharing laws, and we are excited that Lyft is now expanding into the Capital City", said Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
"The new process that will be put in place will ensure as level a playing field as possible between ride-sharing companies and the taxi industry in the insurance that they will require to assure consumers that they are covered", Fassbender said. "We want to respect the jobs that are represented in the taxi industry".
Previous year ride sharing company Uber set up shop in Montgomery.
Uber has been met by uproar, and even legal challenges, by taxi companies and drivers in Ontario and Quebec.
Taxis are now under the overlapping jurisdiction of both the province and the municipalities of Metro Vancouver, Meggs explained.
Immediately following the province's announcement, the Vancouver Taxi Association promised to fight the plan any way they could.
Uber and Lyft drivers will be required to uphold the same safety standards as taxis, including criminal record checks and safe driving record checks.
Stone says taxi companies have shown support for allowing these services, as long as a level playing field is provided.
Uber, Lyft and other similar outfits operate on-demand auto services that connect passengers with private drivers, mainly through smartphone apps.