Earlier this week, the BC NDP government introduced the ride hailing legislation to allow (finally) companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in BC. This is the first step forward for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to start thinking about operating in BC. I deliberately say, “thinking”, because some of the features of legislation states:
- TNC driver to require Class 4 license (same category of license as a taxi driver)
- Mandatory criminal record checks and medical tests
- TNC to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB)
Passenger Transportation Board gets more authority
PTB authority has control over which companies can enter the B.C. market, where they can operate and how much they can charge as well as the supply of passenger-directed vehicles.
It is important for the government to ensure the safety of both the passengers and the drivers. However, once the legislation passes, the biggest fear is that companies like Uber and Lyft will be categorized as a taxi company as opposed to an innovative technology company.
Timeline for legislation to be in effect?
The optimistic timeline for the legislation to be in effect could be in Fall 2019 and based on the its record of delivering, I would suspect it would be in Spring or Summer of 2020. That is roughly one and half years from now or roughly a decade after Uber was first launched. The government says the delay is because of ICBC dealing with billion dollars worth of problems and it would take them a considerable amount of time to build an “insurance package” for the providers of ride hailing services. Really? An year is my question.
What does it mean for Transportation Providers?
From the transportation providers point of view, introduction of ride hailing or sharing in the province of B.C. has its own benefits and challenges. The biggest challenge is competing against a great white shark whose popularity, service, ease of use and more importantly, the reliability is off the charts. The big benefit however is, to help unify the fragmented industry. It is an opportunity for providers to collaborate on a single (or multiple platforms) to work together as a team and leverage the power of technology.
It gives companies like Ryde Today an opportunity to connect and collaborate with transportation providers to build a unified solution for booking a limousine or luxury sedan or a party bus in Vancouver and sub-urban cities.
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