MLA Jordan Sturdy, the BC Liberal Transportation Critic, is calling on Premier John Horgan and the NDP to scrap their “backroom ride-hailing deal” in favour of the model he says is working well across the rest of the country.
“British Columbians were promised ride-hailing by this government and instead they are getting a knock-off version cooked up by NDP insiders,” said Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. “John Horgan adopted the previous BC Liberal government’s promise to introduce ride-hailing by Christmas 2017, broke that promise within months of taking power, broke his next promise of ride-hailing by the end of 2018, and now in 2019 we’re getting a form of ride-hailing nobody asked for.”
The BC Liberals say they are advocating for a level playing field so both the taxi industry and new entrants can provide British Columbians with more transportation options. The Ministry of Transportation and ICBC started working on ride-hailing legislation and insurance in 2014 under the BC Liberals and after lengthy consultations, developed a framework that modernized the taxi industry while opening the door to ride-hailing companies. ICBC completed its extensive work in 2016 creating a new insurance product for ride-hailing as well as a part time product for the taxi industry which was estimated to provide up to 25 per cent savings on their insurance costs.
“John Horgan and the NDP look to be rigging the deck so that companies like Uber and Lyft will be unlikely to successfully operate throughout the province,” said Sturdy. “No other jurisdiction has created obstacles and uncertainties for the ride-hailing industry the way the NDP has in British Columbia. Twice we have introduced a bill that would bring certainty for real ride-hailing and opportunity for the public to benefit but the NDP dismissed it both times.”
While ride-hailing companies can only begin submitting applications in September, Sturdy alleged that “a company with links to the NDP,” Kater, has already been operating since the spring.
“Kater, currently the lone ride-sourcing app in Vancouver, is a company strongly tied to the Vancouver Taxi Association and former BC NDP MLA and party president Moe Sihota,” said Sturdy. “Instead of facilitating real ride-hailing, the John Horgan has allowed an insider company to get a leg up on true ride-hailing.”