GVBOT hails ridesharing and taxi modernization announcement
Board of Trade has advocated for new industry framework for more than two years
VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade applauds today's news that the Provincial Government is shifting gears and moving towards the introduction of ridesharing in B.C. and the modernization of the taxi industry.
"Today's announcement is a meaningful step forward for the future of mobility in our region," said Iain Black, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. "Businesses, residents, and visitors across the Lower Mainland have made it clear that they want more choice and more innovation in their transportation options. We’re encouraged to see this issue moving forward with immediate, meaningful steps."
For more than two years, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been a leading voice advocating for the introduction of ridesharing in B.C. and the modernization of the taxi industry. In February 2016, the organization issued a research paper entitled Innovative Transportation Options for Metro Vancouver in conjunction with its Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The report made four specific recommendations to the Provincial Government, including:
- Establish a provincial regulatory framework which introduces ridesharing and provides residents with greater access to safe and reliable passenger transportation options.
- Review and update taxi regulations to enable the industry to effectively compete against new services and provide consumers with the benefits of a more competitive ride-for-hire market.
- Modernize provincial regulations and harmonize municipal regulations to remove unnecessary red tape and establish a regulatory regime which fosters innovation and competition, while safeguarding public transit.
- Direct ICBC to consult with stakeholders in developing insurance products suitable for part-time and flexible vehicle-for-hire work and is applicable to both the taxi and ridesharing industries.
"We are pleased to our key requests to the province are gaining traction, particularly changes to the insurance framework and the harmonization of municipal regulations across our region. We believe that modernization of our provincial regulations is long overdue," said Black. "We believe the government has undertaken the appropriate due diligence and consultation with industry and has proposed a workable made-in-B.C. solution."
The Board of Trade is renewing its call for all parties running in the provincial election to pledge to establish a regulatory framework to introduce ridesharing and provide residents with greater access to safe and reliable passenger transportation options. This was a key recommendation outlined in the GVBOT's 2017 Provincial Election Platform released earlier this year to the media and to all parties.
"The time has come for British Columbia to embrace new transportation technology and trends. At the same time, we need to enable our traditional taxi industry to modernize and compete on a similar playing field," said Black. "We believe both can be achieved, and we are seeing evidence of that in 40 other jurisdictions across Canada where ridesharing is already in the transportation mix."
In a Fall 2016 survey of Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Members, 80 per cent of respondents said they support allowing ridesharing services to operate in our region — which is now the largest metropolitan area in North America without ridesharing services.
The organization also hosted events with Uber's Chief Advisor David Plouffe in September 2015 (listen to audio) and October 2016 (listen to audio) as well as an event with the Vancouver Taxi Association in June 2016 (listen to audio), in an effort to better inform the regional business community about the evolving ride-for-hire industry.