Ridesharing companies are going to soon be allowed to operate from December 2017 in British Columbia. The news came in March and sparked a lot of debate surrounding what is going to happen. Various things should be known as the taxi companies and the ridesharing companies are going to fight to get customers. Authorities are starting by helping develop an application for the taxi industry through a $1 million donation. At the same time, protecting taxi companies is going to be done through:
- ICBC spending $3.5 million in order to install crash prevention tech and negotiating to streamline insurance claims.
- Red tape is reduced in taxes.
- Taxis can pick up clients anywhere across the municipalities.
- Taxis hold exclusive rights for getting hired via phone, in streets or at taxi stands.
Travel industry blogs like Travel Tipsor highlight that this means tourism revenues should be increased for the rideshare companies that move towards BC but taxi companies might end up suffering. The process is highly monitored by the authorities to guarantee everything goes as planned. Various rules are going to apply to both tax drivers and rideshare companies, including:
- The exact same safety standards.
- Drivers need to pass checks for safe driving and criminal activities.
- Unrestricted licenses.
- Age over 19.
- Regular mechanical inspections need to be passed.
While rideshare is going to become reality, authorities also work to deal with modernizing the transportation industry in the state. Ridesharing is an alternative for the locals but travellers are interested in having access to proper public transportation. Improving the current conditions with investments through TransLink and improvements with Compass Card is the first taken step.
Changes are now made in an effort to fulfill the need of the public for increased convenience, competition, accessibility and choice. People living in the state did voice their concerns that better services are needed with transportation, thus adding ridesharing as an allowed alternative.
Taxi companies welcomed the addition of ridesharing in British Columbia but did want to be sure that there was a “level playing field” involved. The entire industry has to remain competitive according to representatives but there is also a need to have specific incentives that would support the move towards new technology platforms that are going to be implemented.
After the initial announcement that ridesharing will be allowed in British Columbia, Uber released an official statement saying that people in BC need and want access to affordable, reliable and safer transportation options. It was said that the announcement was a positive step forward made by the local government and that all involved parties should come together in order to come up with proper progressive regulations.
Metro Vancouver long stood out as the largest North American metropolitan area that did not have ridesharing and statistics show that around 250,000 locals and 350,000 tourists tried to utilize the Uber app in the state of BC between 2015 and the first quarter of 2017. Allowing ridesharing means that new transportation options are going to be available for both tourists and locals.