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NDP legislation pushes ride hailing in B.C. to late 2019

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People hoping to get a ride from Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing services will have to wait until at least late 2019, if not longer, under NDP government legislation introduced Monday.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said her bill has set the stage for ride-hailing companies to start applying for licences once the Insurance Corp. of B.C. develops new specialized insurance in the “fall of 2019.”

But Trevena quickly sidestepped questions about whether that means ride-hailing vehicles will be on B.C. roads by the 2019 Christmas holidays, when taxis delays are at their worst. She offered only that she hoped they’d proceed “very quickly” while government officials admitted it could be as late as 2020.

“We’re working as quickly as we can,” said Trevena.

The schedule leaves the NDP at least two years behind the startup time it promised voters in the last election.

The legislation, if passed, would require a ride-hailing driver to obtain a Class 4 or commercial driver’s licence, which brings additional medical, security, criminal record and safety checks. Uber and Lyft had been pushing to allow drivers to use ordinary Class 5 licences, arguing their drivers are part-timers who don’t need the same class of licences as bus drivers.

“I think today raises another big question mark about the ability for ride-sharing to come to B.C.,” said Michael van Hemmen, an Uber Canada official.

Read full article here.

Rob Shaw – Vancouver Sun – November 20, 2018.

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