Stranded BC

Recent rideshare regulations introduced by B.C. government are obstructionist and protectionist rather than serving the province by providing access to modern transportation options

According to the newspaper Vancouver Sun, John Horgan and the BC NDP supported the passing of new rules to introduce ridesharing to BC in 2017.


Since then, this issue has been delayed but finally the BC NDP government has introduced a new legislation where we will need to wait in British Columbia at least until late 2019.


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


Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said her bill has set the stage for ride-hailing companies to start applying for licenses once the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) develops new specialized insurance products in the “fall of 2019”.


Below are some of the key amendments proposed by the BC NDP for the new ride-hailing legislation in B.C. while comparing to some of the other provinces that already have ride-hailing services available (Alberta, Ontario and Quebec):

• In B.C., ICBC will develop insurance products for ride share services being the ONLY provider. Ontario, Alberta & Quebec, all have different insurance companies offering products specifically tailored for ridesharing that provide coverage to all drivers and passengers.

• In B.C. the fares, vehicle supply and operating areas will be set for both (Taxi & Ride-hailing Vehicles). This means that there will be a control over how many licenses will be issued and the government through the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) will interfere to determine the rates charged to passengers limitating the operations in the municipalities as happens with taxi companies. Ontario, Alberta & Quebec have no regulations over the number of licenses issued, the rate charged to passengers and limitations to operate within municipalities.

Note: 

• According to the Passenger Transportation Act, the PTB is established, consisting of at least 3 persons appointed, after a merit-based process, by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

• None of the representative members of the PTB is acting on behalf of the public or from an entrepreneurial background 

It is important to emphasize that the amendments proposed in to the Passenger Transportation Act were merely based on Taxi Modernization document recommendations made by the economic firm Hara & Associates and it did not include suggestions from stakeholders as private companies, municipalities, government agencies, taxi associations, NGO’s, etc.


Therefore:

• The proposed legislation by the NDP appear to be bureaucratic and is merely an extension to the current taxi system (as opposed to allowing for a new, competitive market) by setting rates and determining the number and coverage areas of the services (without mentioning that ICBC is a monopoly and will be the only insurance company providing insurance to ride share drivers).

• The proposed legislation is against the principles of the free market where rideshare services should be determined by the open market and by the consumers where the demand should be free from any government’s intervention.

• If none of the PTB members have a representation from the public, how are they going to regulate this in a “fair framework”?

BC NDP politicking and obstruction means B.C. is denied a critical service that the rest of the western world is able to enjoy. British Columbians deserve accessible, affordable and reliable means of transportation. Let’s ensure that ride share services enter into a fair and free market.  

References:

Shaw, R. (2018, 11 20). www.vancouversun.com. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2zS7xJY

BC Gov News. (2018, 11 19). https://news.gov.bc.ca. Retrieved from https://news.gov.bc.ca/18491

BC Laws. (2018, 11 14). http://www.bclaws.ca. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2QOu18m

Passenger Transportation Board. (n.d.). www.ptboard.bc.ca. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2SG5Whn 

Passenger Transportation Board. (2018, 9 12). Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2EgQvsb