Think we’ll have rideshare for the holidays? Think again!

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On Monday, August 19th, 2019, the Passenger Transportation Board shared some good news for the citizens of British Columbia by announcing that there will be no restrictions or limits on fleet sizes and almost no boundary restrictions whereby ridesharing companies can operate. These decisions were made independently from the NDP government and as a result we now have sensible regulations around supply, restrictions, etc.

Both NDP and the taxi association expressed dismay over the decisions. The taxi association expressed their opposition to the rules stating the eventual depreciation of the taxi licenses as a major concern.  

The value of taxi licenses decreasing is inevitable. Many argue that this was going to occur regardless of supply and regional restrictions. This is the case in every major city with the progression towards rideshare. It may be the case that these taxi license owners were misled by our government and their taxi association to think otherwise.

The Class 4 license restriction on ridesharing drivers, suggested by the NDP government, will do very little to nothing to prevent the value of such licenses dropping. With societies progressing and modernizing, it is the reality that when people have options, they often choose the faster, easier and more reliable options available. With rideshare the passenger is empowered to rate the drivers and choose who they would want to ride with. They would be taken to their destination regardless of the driver’s willingness to drive that direction.

The Class 4 license restriction delays the availability of drivers, forces British Columbians to be stranded over the 2019 holidays once again and bring us the worst version of rideshare possible with less part time drivers and less availability of good competition like Lyft to Uber. This is disappointing and in fact, embarrassing for BC.

As we learned about these new requirements, we began to think of the following questions:

1.       Why does Operation Red Nose or Social Service employees (child passengers) not require Class 4 license?

2.       How is it safe that some taxi drivers talk on their phones as they drive passengers?

3.       Why are taxi drivers allowed to decline rides to passengers based on destination? That is against the Class 4 license rules (Chapter 6, Page 122, ICBC manual for driving commercial vehicles)

According to information from ICBC representatives, the approximate timeframe to obtain a Class 4 license can range between 3 to 6 months or even longer. The main factors that can delay the process are:

1.    If you are a new immigrant to Canada, or if you are from a different province within Canada,

2.    ICBC availability to book your road test, or

3.    Studying all the necessary chapters of 280-page knowledge test book which requires intimate knowledge of trucking and driving ambulances.

In addition to the application process, applicants may be required to complete preparation courses where prices can vary from $500 up to $2,000.

Our government is adding this nonsensical restriction to “level the playing field” with the taxi association which desperately needs a free and fair competitive market. We believe that some of the taxi drivers on the road today would see a decline in customers within two weeks if there was a review/rating system in place, such as the “rate your driver” options available on rideshare apps.

Studies and statistics available to us show that most people who work for rideshare companies are part-time drivers looking to make supplemental income as the cost for insurance and vehicle maintenance can be costly if driving on a full-time basis.

The Class 4 license restriction is meant to deter part-time drivers from working for ridesharing companies. It is too onerous and expensive to acquire a commercial driver’s license, and therefore, limiting the availability of ridesharing in general in other areas than Metro Vancouver.

Please share our petition and help us spread the awareness about the reality of the politics and games surrounding this issue. Start the discussion with your friends, family, and fellow community members.

British Columbians deserve accessible, affordable and reliable means of transportation.

Let’s ensure that rideshare services enter into a fair and free market. It’s time to stop protecting the taxi association and masking it with theses unnecessary requirements.

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