It looks like Vancouver might finally be on the right path to bring in ride-sharing services like Uber.
Vancouver’s mayor Gregor Robertson says the B.C. government needs to update its “problematic system for regulating taxi services” first before it can allow ride-sharing services into the province, the Globe and Mail reports.
Earlier this month, mayor Robertson wrote at letter to Transportation Minister Todd Stone, which said “B.C. currently lacks a modern regulatory framework to enable these new transportation technologies while ensuring proper standards are met.”
This means that Mr. Robertson is not against bringing ride-sharing services like Uber into Vancouver, but proper standards need to be met first.
Uber is currently used in 68 countries around the world and is currently in operation in a number of Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton.
If Uber is brought into Vancouver it will not only bring in new job opportunities for Vancouverites, but it will drastically improve transportation in the city, as there is currently a shortage of taxis.
According to BC Business, in Vancouver there is just .24 taxis per 1,000 residents. That compares to 1.3 taxis per thousand people in Montreal, 1.2 in Toronto, and 1.4 in Calgary; showing that Vancouver has the lowest number of taxis per capita of any major Canadian city.
In Mr. Robertson’s letter, he wrote that the City of Vancouver is supportive of new technologies (like ride-sharing apps), if there is a “fair and level playing field” for all service providers.
“We urge you to work with local governments in the region as well as the taxi industry and other key stakeholder groups to put in place regulations that enable ride-sharing while addressing the need for all companies to provide proper insurance, driver training, service for people with disabilities and meet environmental standards,” he wrote to Mr. Stone.
Uber is currently not allowed to operate in the city because in the fall of 2014 Vancouver councillors put a temporary suspension against any licensing that would allow Uber to operate in the city (a suspension they have yet to lift) the Globe and Mail reports.
Mr. Stone, who was originally against Uber, announced this week that ride-sharing services will inevitably come to B.C. despite the B.C. government being firmly against Uber setting up operations.
But before any changes take place there are several issues that need to be worked out between ride-sharing companies and the Passenger Transportation Board that regulates the industry in B.C.
Those issues include insurance, background checks, accessibility for people with disabilities, and mechanical inspections of vehicles, Mr. Stone said.
This all comes as the B.C. Liberal Party has recently been running ads on Facebook and Instagram asking residents if they support sharing companies like Uber, AirBnB, and Lyft, and then asking them to sign-up with the party for more information.