Issue: Ride Sharing–an open letter to concerned constituents

October 2017

Thank you to all who have written to me about ride sharing.

During the election, I committed to advocating for ride sharing to be legalized in British Columbia.

I also committed to ensuring that ride sharing in BC be introduced in a responsible way. In particular, I said we need to protect passenger safety through driver background checks, ensure adequate insurance in the event of a car accident that injures a passenger, and use this unique opportunity to support BC businesses and technology development if possible.

My commitments to our community have not changed on this issue since I was elected. Premier Horgan has been clear that our government will be bringing in ridesharing to British Columbia, and we will do so in a responsible manner.

Fortunately, taking the time to get this right is not an issue on which the parties in the legislature disagree.

The post-election BC Liberal throne speech in June, 2017, said “your government has heard the message that legitimate implementation concerns [concerning ridesharing] remain. Any proposed legislation will be referred to an all-party committee for extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders, in particular regarding boundaries and insurance.”

Every BC Liberal MLA voted to support extensive consultation, and taking the time to get outstanding issues right before ride sharing starts in the province. And no wonder; very little implementation work had been done by the previous government despite Uber requesting access to British Columbia’s market since 2012.

The consequences of not taking the time to ensure we’re protecting British Columbian’s interests are apparent from other jurisdictions around the world.

London recently suspended Uber’s ability to operate in that city for a variety of alleged infractions. They’re not alone. A number of places that rushed Uber implementation have had to revisit that decision for various reasons, or faced serious consequences for not taking the time to get their systems right: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/09/22/has-uber-run-trouble-around-world/

As a supporter of ride sharing technology for a number of reasons, I’d like to see ride sharing in BC as soon as possible. But as part of government, we have a responsibility to take the lessons that were learned elsewhere, and use them to protect the interests of British Columbians.

My colleague the Minister of Transportation is doing the important policy work required to do exactly that as I write.

Thank you for writing to me about this important issue.

Yours truly,

David Eby

MLA, Vancouver Point Grey