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Posts Tagged "ridehailing"

2Oct

Vancouver council approves fees for ride-hailing trips in the city centre | CBC News

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People taking an Uber or Lyft within the confines Vancouver’s central core will be paying nearly $1 in municipal and provincial fees.

Vancouver became the first municipality in the Lower Mainland to pass regulations around ride-hailing on Wednesday, with council approving up to 60 cents in fees — a 30 cent fee for every pickup and drop off in the “Metro Core” region — defined as the area east of Burrard Street, west of Clark Drive and north of 16th Avenue. 

The fee is in place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, with revenue going toward managing congestion.

An additional 30 cent fee has been created by the province for all rides in B.C., regardless of time, with the money supporting accessibility. 

In both cases, the fees will not apply for accessible vehicles. Most major cities in Canada have additional fees of 20 to 30 cents per trip.

In addition to the municipal and provincial fees, ride-hailing companies in B.C. will have to set the same minimum rate as taxi companies, which varies between $3.25 and $3.95 depending on the region.

The province’s regulations around ride-hailing do not allow municipalities to withhold business licences but allows them to put additional regulations on companies operating within their borders.

“It’s important for us to bring in some interim measures immediately to do our best to manage the launch of ride-hailing,” said Lon LeClaire, Vancouver’s director of transportation.

Rides would have to pay a 30 cent fee for trips between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. that begin in Vancouver’s Metro Core and an additional 30 cent fee if it ends in the Metro Core. (City of Vancouver)

$100 yearly business licence fee

While councillors were on board with the 30 cent fee, there was significant debate over a proposal by city staff of a $100 yearly business licence for each driver.

Representatives for both Uber and Lyft worried that if other municipalities copied Vancouver with their own fees, drivers would choose to stick to the one or two municipalities with the most customers and fewest municipal boundaries.

“Are we putting in too many barriers, so most people choose to just drive in Vancouver because it’s the most profitable market?” asked Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung. 

“I [don’t support] a Vancouver-only model that moves ahead without looking at an entire municipal approach. What that smacks of to me is the taxi approach, where we are creating false challenges to having vehicles go across municipal boundaries.”

City staff noted they were also lowering the yearly licence for taxis to $100 ,down significantly from $616, in order to create the more “level playing field” between taxis and ride-hailing companies that council had previously asked for.

In the end, an amendment was passed directing staff to review the $100 licence fee after six months, following consultations with other municipalities in the region.

City manager Sadhu Johnston said he expected Vancouver’s legislation to serve as a template for other municipalities, but Vancouver would continue to fine tune its bylaws when they see the impacts of ride-hailing company operations  which are expected to begin by the end of the year.  

“This will be very dynamic,” he said. “We’re going to be watching it closely. We’re trying to avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve seen in other cities.”

12Aug

Lyft confirms plan to launch ride-hailing service in Vancouver

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Lyft plans to start serving the ride-hailing market in Metro Vancouver in the fall of 2019.


PNG

The ride-hailing company Lyft intends to operate in Vancouver, according to a prepared statement released by the company on Monday.

Lyft, which competes globally in the ride-hailing market with Uber, has also appointed Peter Lukomskyj as its general manager in B.C. The managing director of Lyft in Canada is Aaron Zifkin.

In the prepared statement, Lukomskyj thanked the NDP government and provincial Green party for allowing ride-hailing in B.C.

Last month, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena revealed its long-awaited regulations on licensing and insurance for ride-hailing, saying it was now possible for ride-hailing companies to enter the market this fall “with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry.”

“British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government,” Trevena said at the time. “We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise. Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall.”

Ride-hailing companies have to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board for permission to operate, with applications being accepted starting Sept. 3. The board also sets guidelines for fares, boundaries and numbers of vehicles.

All drivers will have to have a Class 4 commercial driving licence in order to drive for one of these companies.

At the time of Trevena’s announcement, Zifkin said this ruling would limit the number of drivers available in the Vancouver market.

“Ninety-one per cent of the drivers on our platform drive less than 20 hours a week. These are people like single moms, students in school and people trying to supplement their incomes. As soon as you introduce that Class 4 commercial licence, these people tend not to apply for that type of work,” Zifkin said.

In Monday’s statement, Lukomskyj said the company would work with all levels of government in the region — including the Ministry of Transportation and the Passenger Transportation Board — “to be a part of the province’s transportation network and help create a frictionless experience for British Columbians.”

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Lyft was founded in the U.S. in 2012 and operates in Toronto and Ottawa.

9Jul

Taxi borders won’t change under B.C.’s new ride-hailing regulations

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Taxi cabs will keep their municipal boundaries even when ride-hailing is introduced in B.C. later this year.


Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

VICTORIA — Existing boundaries for taxis in most of B.C. won’t change with the introduction of ride-hailing later this year, according to the independent tribunal charged with making the decision.

The Passenger Transportation Board, which will set boundaries and fares for ride-hailing and taxis by next month, is not considering any large-scale changes to current taxi areas that are often based on regional or municipal borders.

“As an administrative tribunal we’d have to discuss changes of boundaries and that would be very contentious and time-consuming and yet another delay in implementing ride-hailing,” board chair Catharine Reid said Tuesday. “And we don’t want a delay in implementing ride-hailing.

“The second reason is we don’t have good origin destination information. So if we try to change taxi boundaries, we don’t know if we’ll make things better or worse.”

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft can begin applying for licences in B.C. on Sept. 3, after the B.C. government announced Monday it has set the licensing and insurance regulations. Premier John Horgan has said ride-hailing could be in operation by the end of the year.

Drivers must have a class four commercial licence, and companies will be required to pay a $5,000 fee as well as a 30-cent-per-trip levy to improve accessibility services, under the government rules.

But the exact details on fares and boundaries are to be set by the Passenger Transportation Board, which is an independent tribunal.


The Uber app is displayed on an iPhone as taxi drivers wait for passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Reid and the board began public discussions on those issues with taxi companies in Prince Rupert on Tuesday. She said the rest of the taxi sector, as well as ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will be consulted by the end of next week.

“The policy will be up sometime in August that will provide policy on boundaries, fleet size and rates,” she said.

Uber and Lyft have said they want to operate free of borders, to give their drivers flexibility on responding to demand for a ride anywhere.

The taxi sector is divided on the issue. Eliminating borders could solve problems like “deadheading” — where taxis from Vancouver, for example, take a passenger to Surrey but can’t pick up anyone on the return trip due to licensing restrictions. But removing borders could also devalue taxi licenses that hold value based on their scarcity in a certain area, causing significant financial losses for companies, drivers and those who’ve borrowed money to purchase or lease part shares in vehicle licenses.

The board has released two public discussion papers that lay out its options.

For the rest of the province outside of Metro Vancouver, it offers no options to change taxi boundaries. The report says ride-hailing companies could either follow the same borders, or be given larger regional or provincial areas in which to operate, depending on industry feedback.

In Metro Vancouver, three of the four options proposed would keep the existing municipal taxi boundaries for Vancouver, Surrey and elsewhere.

However, one option does propose opening up the Metro Vancouver region as a single area in which both ride-hailing vehicles and the traditional taxi sector could operate equally.

“It is not clear that taxis would want this approach as they are free to launch their own (ride-hailing) service and could also maintain the advantages of taxis that each has within their current operating area,” read the board report.

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An open metro region would give the public “faster and more reliable service, including at peak times,” reduce the numbers of trips refused and tackle the problem of deadheading, according to the report.

However, it would also result in “taxi service likely reduced for suburban areas,” wrote the board.

Taxi licenses would see a “large reduction” in value if ride-hailing was region-wide or provincewide, especially in the City of Vancouver, according to the report.

The B.C. Taxi Association, which attended consultations in Prince Rupert on Tuesday, said all boundaries should be removed for everyone.

“There’s no need for boundaries,” said president Mohan Kang. “If they have the ability to move around Metro Vancouver, so should we.”

The Vancouver Taxi Association, where taxi licenses hold the most value and its operators face the largest risk, could not be reached for comment.

The Passenger Transportation Board is also considering whether to limit the size of ride-hailing fleets, but its discussion papers note that no other governments do so and it would be impossible to set a defensible limit.

Fares are also up for consideration. The board notes no other governments impose maximum price limits on ride-hailing, despite concerns about surge pricing during peak demand. One option up for consideration is setting the minimum fare for an Uber or Lyft ride at the same rate as a taxi, or setting no minimum rate at all.

Uber and Lyft declined to comment. Both oppose B.C.’s class four commercial licence requirement and neither company so far has committed to opening in the province later this year.

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8Jul

Ride-hailing to hit B.C. streets by September, says province | CBC News

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The province has unveiled the final pieces of its ride-hailing puzzle which will finally allow services like Uber and Lyft to hit B.C. streets.

 North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma announced on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, that ICBC has completed the insurance portion of the proposed legislation, and the Passenger Transportation Board will be able to take applications from ride services companies starting Sept. 3.

Last November, the province’s proposed legislation received royal assent. The amendments, which will significantly expand the power of the Passenger Transportation Board to determine fares, as well as the number of licensed vehicles in each region or area, have now been passed by order in council.

Today, Ma said the board will start assessing licence applications in early September with the final regulations coming into effect Sept. 16.

Application processing time will be anywhere from two weeks to a month, the ministry estimates.

“We fully expect that people will be able to hail a ride through this new industry — the Transportation Network Service industry — by the end of the year,” said Ma in a teleconference.

Another part of the legislation to ensure passenger safety, said the ministry, is the need for all ride service drivers to have a Class 4 licence, which means drivers will have to provide an ICBC driver abstract, as well as a police criminal record check.

“The Class 4 requirement is not negotiable for us,” said Ma.

Today, North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma said the board will start assessing licence applications in early September, with the final regulations coming into effect Sept. 16. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Taxi companies will also be required to pay 30 cents for every non-accessible trip completed in a vehicle without rear or side entries. The province says this is an important step in modernizing the taxi industry and supporting accessibility in our region.

The ministry will also require all drivers to have their vehicles inspected periodically under the Motor Vehicle Act. Any vehicles operating more than 40,000 kilometres per year will require inspection every six months. If fewer than 40,000 kilometres, vehicle inspections will be required every 12 months.

Ride hailing companies will be required to pay a $5,000 annual fee to operate, but the ministry said it still does not know if it will be more or less expensive to insure a ride hailing vehicle, compared to a taxi.

The Passenger Transportation Board is an independent tribunal in B.C. established under the Passenger Transportation Act. It makes decisions on applications relating to the licensing of taxis, limousines, shuttle vans, inter-city buses, and now, ride-hailing services in B.C.


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8Jul

Uber in B.C.? Regulations give ride-hailing service the green light

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The B.C. government says the Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting applications as of Sept. 3 in order to have the service in place this fall.

ICBC says it will offer a blanket, per kilometer insurance product and will only apply when a driver is offering the service. All other regulations will come into force on Sept. 16, which means ride-hailing is a go once the PTB approves applications.

PTB will need to consider appropriate operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates.

Other regulations announced via a government release include requiring drivers to have criminal and driver record checks. Those operating illegal services could be fined up to $100,000 a day. A 30-cent “per-trip” fee is also being added to help fund programs to increase accessibility.

The regulations released today come after a number of studies and consultations into the issue of ride-hailing.

Earlier this year, a legislature committee issued recommendations including there be no boundaries or limits on how many ride-hailing vehicles are allowed on the road. The committee also suggested the minimum cost for ride-hailing needs to be more than the cost of taking transit.

Another recommendation – that drivers be required to hold a Class 5 license was previously rejected by the minister.

In June, a report from B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board found there was a “public need and desire for ride hailing.”

In 2017, the NDP government commissioned Dan Hara to speak to the taxi industry and stakeholders about how to move forward.

Parties have fielded the issue as a political hot potato for years. The Liberals, in power for 16 years failed to introduce regulations and the NDP broke a promise to bring in ride sharing by the end of 2017. Observers and critics accuse politicians to bowing to the taxi lobby and refusing to alienate voters in key battlegrounds like Surrey.

An overview of the regulations provided by the government follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here for a compatible version.


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8Jul

Uber in B.C.? Ride-hailing companies, advocates worried regulations too restrictive

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Imagine working for a cab company, ending your shift late and not and then not being able to get a taxi to stop and take you home.

Christiana Virtue said that’s exactly what happened to her.

“I was off at three o’clock in the morning waiting for a cab and the cab drove past me multiple times,” she told CTV News.

She blamed the early morning hours and the location. The Victoria-area resident estimated over the past year, she’s probably had a cab not pick her up for various reasons about 10 or 15 times.

Like others, Virtue likes the idea of having the option to ride-share. It’s a reality that’s a step closer, as the province unveiled regulations Monday that companies will need to abide by. Yet something that wasn’t addressed in those new rules is what advocates say may be the biggest roadblock ahead.

“We are very concerned around the Class 4 licensing that will reduce the amount of the supply on the road, which is ultimately the problem and the challenge that we’ve been experiencing for so many years here in B.C.,” said Lyft Canada’s Managing Director, Aaron Zifkin.

Lyft insists the requirement for the commercial Class 4 licence and not the standard Class 5 most people have won’t mean more vehicles on the road.

B.C. Ridesharing Coalition’s Ian Tostenson told CTV the Class 4 requirement makes it easier for those already driving taxis?to make the switch — which doesn’t increase supply. He’s also worried the requirement will be too cumbersome and costly for moms and students who, in other jurisdictions, have signed up to drive.

“It could cost someone upwards of $1,000 and several months to get it and we’re concerned it’s the only place in North America, practically, that people are required to get it,” Tostenson added.

In a teleconference speaking on behalf of Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, who is ill, North Vancouver MLA Bowinn Ma said the Class 4 requirement was “non-negotiable.” Ma chaired an all-party legislature committee that recommended the standard Class 5 license.

Ma also noted the Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting ride-hailing applications as of Sept. 3 in order to have the service in place this fall. She added she believed the government had struck the right balance in terms of the existing taxi industry, passenger safety and choice.

Other regulations include requiring drivers to have criminal and driver record checks. Those operating illegal services could be fined up to $100,000 a day. A 30-cent “per-trip” fee is also being added to trips in non-accessible vehicles to help fund programs to increase accessibility. All companies will be charged an annual fee of $5,000 a year – an amount government officials said was “conservative” when compared to other jurisdictions.

The regulations announced today will come into force on Sept. 16, which means ride-hailing is a go once the PTB approves applications.

PTB will need to consider appropriate operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates. Consultations with ride-sharing companies and the taxi industry are expected to start Tuesday.

In a statement, Uber says it will review the information and “evaluate how they may impact our ability to provide British Columbians with the same ride-sharing experience they already enjoy in cities across North America…”

ICBC will offer a blanket, per kilometer insurance product that will only apply when a driver is offering the service. The rates will be detailed in an application expected July 19 and the BC Utilities Commission has been given until Aug. 8 to approve the new rates. In a technical briefing, staff said taxi insurance rates would be used as a benchmark to determine rates.

The regulations released today come after a number of studies and consultations into the issue of ride-hailing.

Earlier this year, a legislature committee issued recommendations including there be no boundaries or limits on how many ride-hailing vehicles are allowed on the road. The committee also suggested the minimum cost for ride-hailing needs to be more than the cost of taking transit.

That resulted in blowback from ride-sharing companies and organizations like MADD who argue there’s no evidence to support the claim Class 4 licenses lead to increased safety. Several other Canadian provinces allow drivers to use class 5 licenses.

Parties have fielded the issue as a political hot potato for years. The Liberals, in power for 16 years failed to introduce regulations and the NDP broke a promise to bring in ride sharing by the end of 2017. Observers and critics accuse politicians to bowing to the taxi lobby and refusing to alienate voters in key battlegrounds like Surrey.

An overview of the regulations provided by the government follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here for a compatible version.


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26Mar

Legislative committee gives advice on ride-hailing regulations

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Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft should not be limited by geographic boundaries or caps on fleet sizes, and drivers should be allowed to work with Class-5 licences, according to a provincial legislative committee.

In November, the provincial government introduced legislation that will allow ride-hailing companies to operate in B.C., likely by late this year.

The nine-member, all-party select standing committee on Crown corporations was asked to look at four specific areas of regulation: boundaries, vehicle supply, fare and price regimes, and driver’s licence requirements.

On Tuesday, it released 11 recommendations after hearing from 15 witnesses and receiving 47 written submissions from municipalities, regional districts, First Nations, taxi associations, disability advocacy organizations and ride-hailing companies.

“I do hope that now government will see fit to keep the recommendations and get real ride-hailing in place and on the road in British Columbia,” said Surrey South Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux, who was the committee’s deputy chair.

Currently, taxi companies are limited by operating boundaries, which are set when a taxi licence is granted. They dictate where a taxi can pick up passengers, which can lead to deadheading — return trips without passengers — and ride refusals.

The committee said boundaries should not be imposed for ride-hailing companies. Instead, they considered other options to manage the distribution of vehicles, such as geofencing to redistribute supply and per-trip or per-kilometre fees to deal with congestion, if necessary.

Fleet sizes for ride-hailing companies should not be capped, the committee said, however it did not agree on other mechanisms to deal with supply and demand.

In the interest of safety and reducing emissions, the committee recommended that vehicles used for ride-hailing be no more than 10 years old.

On pricing, the committee said there should be a minimum per-trip price that is not less than the cost of public transit. A regular adult fare for someone who does not have a Compass card is $2.95 for one zone, and $5.70 for three zones.

They also agreed that the cost of a trip should be the same for an handicap-accessible vehicle and non-accessible vehicle.

Companies should be required to disclose the price for a trip on their apps before the customer orders a ride, and data should be monitored to see if a base rate or cap on surge pricing should be implemented. These recommendations were in a 2018 committee report.

The committee was not unanimous in its views on driver licensing, but a majority of members voted for a Class-5 licence requirement, rather than a Class-4. A Class-5 licence is what most drivers in B.C. hold.

“Members expressed uncertainty over whether the Class-4 licensing process actually produces safer drivers,” the report states.

They emphasized that driver rating systems could help identify safe drivers, and said driving record checks and medical exams could be required.

The committee also recommended that ride-hailing companies be required to provide data to the province for monitoring purposes, and that the province make that information available “to the broadest extent possible while maintaining privacy.”

It was recommended that the province review the regulations in 2023.

Committee member and B.C. Green spokesperson for transportation, MLA Adam Olsen, said the government now has the tools to make ride-hailing a reality.

“Ride-hailing will make transportation services more accessible for British Columbians, and the recommendations brought forward by our committee ensure that there would be a regulatory environment that promotes overall safety and a fair playing field,” said Olsen. “I hope government will implement these recommendations, which are informed by other jurisdictions.”

Ridesharing Now for B.C., a coalition advocating in favour of ride-hailing, urged the province to adopt the recommendations and move forward.

“Today’s report marks a major milestone in bringing ride-sharing to the province by the fall of 2019, as promised by the government,” said spokesperson Ian Tostenson. “It is time to get ride-sharing on the road by implementing the key recommendations and finalizing ride-sharing auto-insurance.”

To bridge the gap until ride-hailing is allowed in the province, a local company has started Kater, a ride-hailing app that will begin beta testing on Saturday.

People who have registered on the company’s website and been chosen to take part in the trial will be able to download the company’s app and order rides from Vancouver to anywhere in B.C. Kater will begin with a small number of vehicles and scale up to 140 within a few weeks.

The company will use Vancouver Taxi Association licences to operate and will be expected to abide by the existing rules — which include requiring a Class-4 licence, TaxiHost Pro certificate, and chauffeur-for-hire permit, and charging taxi rates — but use a typical ride-hailing app that takes payment and allows users to track their rides and rate drivers.

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