(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Twice in the last two years I introduced a private member’s bill entitled Rideshare Enabling Act, 2017.  Twice that bill died on the order papers as the BC Liberals were hesitant to bring in the necessary regulatory framework. But the past election campaign forced the BC Liberals and the BC NDP to reconsider their positions. They both eventually joined the BC Greens in committing to bring ridesharing to British Columbia as part of their election platforms. In fact, an instruction to do so was included in the Premier’s mandate letter to Minister Trevena. However, the mandate letter includes no timeline, and British Columbians continue to wait.

If we wish to consider ourselves as innovators in the emerging 21st century economy we must be willing to embrace the innovation that we create. Failing to do suggests that we are not serious about taking a leadership position in the new economy. That’s why today I signaled my intention to bring in a slightly modified version of my earlier legislation. It is designed to create the required transportation and insurance regulatory framework for transportation network companies to operate in British Columbia.

The reality is that several ridesharing companies are already operating in Metro Vancouver in an unregulated environment. These include the Chinese language Udi Kuaiche and Racoon Go ridesharing companies. It’s imperative that we bring in the appropriate legislation sooner than later in order to level the playing field.

I encourage people to examine the draft legislation and provide me with their input. The final version of the legislation will be introduced in October.

In addition, our new minority government offers an exciting opportunity to work together to advance good public policy. I invite my colleagues on both sides of the house to discuss this legislation with me in advance of its introduction. By working together, we can finally bring ridesharing to B.C. in a way that meets the needs of consumers while ensuring that B.C. businesses is able to thrive.

As a final note, I penned an OPED on this topic which was  published in the Vancouver Sun today. Below I reproduce that as well as today’s media release.


Vancouver Sun OPED


We are in an unprecedented era of technological innovation. Just a decade after the launch of the iPhone, three quarters of Canadians now have a smartphone in their pockets. Last year, new installations of emissions-free power surpassed fossil fuel for the first time. We are only three years away from millions of self-driving cars hitting our streets.

While it can be tempting to view such dramatic technological shifts as either thrilling or terrifying, the truth is the effects of new technology are complex. To take self-driving cars as an example, we can expect to see positive impacts such as a reduction in emissions, less congestion and fewer accidents, but we will also see a significant loss of jobs as taxis and trucks become automated.

Government cannot stick its head in the sand and hope the effects of these technological shifts sort themselves out. What is needed is a proactive, responsive approach that considers the wide ranging impacts of these changes, and a government that crafts innovative policies that will ensure British Columbia stays on the cutting edge of technological adoption.

That’s why, this October, I will re-introduce ride-sharing enabling legislation, a bill I first introduced in 2016.

Ride-sharing first came to B.C. in 2012, but the first ride-sharing company left the city after a $75 trip minimum was imposed. Vancouver is now the largest city in North America without this service. In 2016, leaders from the city’s tech industry wrote an open letter expressing concern “regarding the provincial government’s long-standing inaction on ride-sharing regulation in B.C. and how we now find ourselves falling behind the rest of the world.”

Like most technologies, the effects of ride-sharing are complex. Studies suggest that ride-sharing may reduce emissions and incidences of drunk-driving. However, ride-sharing has also sparked concerns about public safety and a lack of a level playing field for existing businesses.

These concerns must be addressed so that B.C. business remains competitive and the safety of British Columbians is assured. But while the government dithers, unregulated ride-sharing companies continue to operate under the radar.

Government can take action to prevent such illegal companies from taking hold by implementing proactive technology adoption policies. I am excited that a key element of the B.C. Greens emerging technology platform — the Emerging Economy Task Force — is included in our Confidence and Supply Agreement with the new NDP government. This task force will do precisely what government failed to do when ride-sharing was first introduced to B.C.: assess the impacts of new technology and provide proposals on how to best address them.

All three political parties promised to bring ride-sharing to B.C. during the 2017 election campaign. I am encouraged that an instruction to legislate ride-sharing was included in Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s mandate letter from the Premier. But there was no timeline specified and British Columbians continue to wait for action on this file.

All three parties have acknowledged that this new minority government is an opportunity to work together to advance good public policy that is in the best interests of British Columbians.

I invite my colleagues from both the B.C. NDP and B.C. Liberal caucuses to discuss my ride-sharing enabling act and propose their ideas for this legislation in advance of its introduction in October.

We all want to see B.C. be a leader in the emerging economy, but we can’t get there if we continue to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to adopting new technology.

Instead, let’s collaborate to finally bring ride-sharing to B.C. in a way that meets the needs of consumers while ensuring that B.C. businesses is able to thrive.


Media Release


Andrew Weaver to re-introduce ridesharing legislation this Fall
For immediate release
August 21, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green caucus, announced today that he will re-introduce legislation to enable ridesharing this Fall. Weaver has twice introduced the Ridesharing Enabling Act, once in April 2016 and again in February 2017.

“The government cannot stick its head in the sand when it comes to new technology,” said Weaver.

“All parties want to see B.C. be a leader in the emerging economy. To do so, government must take a proactive, responsive approach that considers the wide ranging impacts of technological innovation. Vancouver is the largest city in North America without ridesharing – it is time we finally made this service accessible to British Columbians.

“I am encouraged that all three parties agreed to bring ridesharing to B.C. in the past election, and that an instruction to do so was included in the Premier’s mandate letter to Minister Trevena. However, the mandate letter includes no timeline, and British Columbians continue to wait.

“In this new minority government, we have an opportunity to work together to advance good public policy. I invite my colleagues on both sides of the house to discuss this legislation with me in advance of its introduction. By working together, we can finally bring ridesharing to B.C. in a way that meets the needs of consumers while ensuring that B.C. businesses is able to thrive.”

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Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca

9 Comments

  1. Nick Coleman-Reply
    September 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Travis and Christie – you should read the proposed legislation. Every bullet point except one is addressed.

    The one is: taxi requires mandated, unchanging, fair rates

    I would counter that the rates are not fair at all. Rates driven by supply and demand are the definition of fair.

    Now my points on why ridesharing is better for the public than taxis:
    – rideshare drivers will pay income tax, taxi drivers hide income
    – consumers receive fair rates in rideshare, pay monopoly rents for taxis
    – rideshare is more convenient and cost effective for consumers
    – providing more efficient lower cost access to transportation will reduce drinking and driving.

  2. Dennis-Reply
    August 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Too late for Weaver to change his mind but an Interesting read…

    https://hbr.org/2017/06/uber-cant-be-fixed-its-time-for-regulators-to-shut-it-down

    I have NO association with the taxi industry.

  3. Claire Hume-Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    The Vancouver Taxi Association has provided some great feedback as well. In particular, I think their comments on disabled taxi services is really compelling. From their submission: Disabled Taxi Service “Every taxi fleet and every ridesharing company must provide wheelchair accessible vehicles. Ridesharing companies that do not wish to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles should have the option of contributing to a fund that supports the operation and maintenance costs of taxi companies that provide wheelchair accessible taxi service. As a society we must provide adequate service to people with mobility challenges. This requires funding. Taxi fleets will not be able to subsidize wheelchair accessible fleets from their regular fleets once ridesharing companies begin operating.”

  4. August 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    This legislation is a tax grab. It says “25% of last quarters revenue paid as a TAX” Try legislating that on other businesses and you will see a fierce blowback.

    It is our kids that use rideshare because taxis are too expensive. If you make it unaffordable for them, they will be left with no alternative but to buy cheap gas guzzling cars. This legislation is an attack on our kids and something only an oil company would think of!

  5. F M-Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Ridesharing Taxi and we shouldn’t use the Regulated Taxicab service as a model for a crowd-sourced, everything-shared future. People who want to take a Taxi and the unique benefits a Taxi provides should be free to take them, and people who want to use an app-based future-friendly and innovative system should be free to do this as well. I did read the legislation and my big ask is to please keep ride-sharing light touch and low-cost to enable people to embrace this more environmentally friendly way to getting around town. For example allow for an innovative, low-cost insurance policy to make it easy to do business in BC, special insurance that only activates when the driver has a rider, otherwise defaults to regular insurance, like Intact has done in Calgary. Make sure there is a fair dispute resolution process so that the consumer is protected, and follow successful models that have been in place for years in other cities. Let’s not tie this up in regulation and red tape just to protect the big taxicab medallion holders.

  6. Rick McGowan-Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Agree. I have no problem raising the bar for ride sharing apps like Uber and Didi Chuxing. Currently, drivers require class 4 licences and a special course to operate. We do not want to erode standards we have, but we also have chance to improve consumer protection. This is something all parties can work together on and support.

  7. Amour De Cosmos-Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Not really ride sharing— it’s UBER & UBER is a fine example of greedy lousy use of tech – a tech that basically exploits workers. It is not at all impressive in terms of technology and it is debatable if it is good for the environment either. You (the Greens of BC) should be concentrating on technology that does matter and that is progressive, sustainable and useful…Just because other jurisdictions are completely sold out to tech-capitalist rip-off of UBER —doesn’t mean Vancouver has to too. Here are some tech ideas that YOU should be moving forward with. 1. An environmental tax on the cattle industry and methane production 2. subsidizing of electric cars and bikes- In France they have a 200Euro subsidy for electric bikes. We should initiate this as well!

    https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/france-offers-200-subsidy-electric-bike-purchases.html

    One way to empower more people to go for cleaner transportation options is to offer financial incentives, as Oslo recently demonstrated with its $1200 electric cargo bike grant, and France looks to be giving the idea a go as well.

    As published on the French government site Legifrance, citizens can claim their €200 financial assistance (one per person) through January 31, 2018, for the purchase of a pedal-assist electric bike “with a net maximum power of less than 3 kW” and not having a lead-acid battery. This “ecological bonus” could help offset the higher purchase price of an e-bike (as compared with a conventional bike) and give French residents a little more motivation to use personal ‘zero emission’ vehicles.

    While many early e-bikes and conversions took advantage of relatively cheap lead-acid batteries as their power source, most modern electric bicycles employ lithium-ion (or similar chemistry) battery packs, so that stipulation shouldn’t hold anyone back. As far as the restriction that the qualifying e-bikes have a “net maximum power” of less than 3 kW, it shouldn’t be an issue either, as most e-bike regulations already govern the maximum rating of electric motors on bikes (however, e-bike wattage ratings aren’t nearly as clear-cut as they seem).

    There also needs to be a concerted effort to fund research and pilot programs into using wave energy for coastal communities.

  8. Travis-Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Ride sharing = taxi however taxi > ridesharing. The reasons are simple:
    -taxi requires professional qualification
    -taxi requires criminal record check
    -taxi requires high level insurance coverage
    -taxi requires mandated, unchanging, fair rates
    -taxi requires intermittent vehicle inspection
    In short, taxi is heavily regulated in order to best protect the user. Also keep a level playing field for all operators.

    Ridesharing intentionally sidesteps those requirements. If ridesharing is to be adopted in BC, if we are truly to lead, then ridesharing must = taxi. The right way to do this is to bring the minimum requirements on ridesharing up to the minimum taxi requirements. That ruins the business model (or technology, as you worded it) of ridesharing. After all, the whole point of “ridesharing” is that anyone can become a taxi.

    If raising the minimum requirements for ridesharing is not the plan, then the only other fair way for ridesharing to = taxi is to downgrade requirements for the taxi industry. This sounds like sloppy leadership.

    To be fair, I am not likely to read the draft bill, but this is my 2 cents as a Green Voter.

    • Christie Sandford-Reply
      August 22, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Travis is correct on all points. Ride share has to be regulated the same way as taxis.

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