Thank you for writing to me about ridesharing, and specifically, proposed changes related to provincial regulation for networked transportation companies.
As you have heard, our government is preparing to reform the rules around transportation companies to ease access to BC for rideshare companies by September of 2019. I understand clearly that you would prefer for this date to be sooner. I would like to explain to you some of the reasons for the delay in implementation of new rules in BC.
We are taking the time necessary to ensure that the introduction of ridesharing offers adequate protection to British Columbians who would like to use ridesharing services.
There are many issues that rideshare raises for our community. As just one example, we have serious traffic issues in Vancouver. Many cities which have continuing traffic challenges like Vancouver, including New York, San Francisco and Boston, have been impacted by significant additional traffic and congestion when ridesharing was introduced:
If we can mitigate these issues in advance, we believe we can and should do so. This is complicated and important work that takes time and expertise.
Beyond concerns about additional congestion, there are other issues we need to address.
As the Chair of the all party committee on ridesharing, MLA Bowinn Ma, recently summarized in a recent communication on ridesharing, issues to be pre-emptively addressed that have been seen in other jurisdictions include: “Violations of safety regulations, predatory surge pricing, improper worker classification, drivers dying by suicide, the persistent occurrence of predators using rideshare apps to gain access to vulnerable passengers, increased congestion, unsafe vehicles…the need to ensure those who use wheelchairs or mobility aids have as many options as those who do not…”
We are committed to addressing the introduction of rideshare in BC in a responsible manner. As you may know, ridesharing companies are not blocked from coming into BC; however, they would like the rules changed before they do – they don’t like the current structures we have.
We are glad to be engaged in the process of changing those rules to accommodate this new industry, but we won’t rush this process at the expense of the key principles we outlined including public safety, efficient transportation and fair access throughout the election campaign and after.
Thank you for your continued patience as we work on this issue going forward.