Ride-hailing to come to B.C., may be limited by Class 4 requirements

VICTORIA, B.C. – Lyft announced today that it intends to operate in Vancouver, but concerns remain that the significant hurdles of the Class 4 licence will provide a barrier in getting adequate number of  drivers to support the service in other areas of the province.

“Providing a competitive and fair marketplace for all taxi and ride-hailing services requires government to proactively look ahead to establish protocols, update procedures, and add support infrastructure within the Passenger Transportation Board,” said MLA Adam Olsen, B.C. Green spokesperson for transportation and member of the Select Standing Committee. 

“Bringing ride-hailing to Vancouver would be a significant step forward, and the B.C. Greens have been saying since 2016 that in order to make transportation services more accessible for British Columbians there must be a regulatory environment that promotes overall safety and a fair playing field. However, I am concerned that the Class 4 licence system creates significant barriers in getting adequate drivers to make this a viable service across the province. I have consistently brought this concern up with the Minister, pointing out that we can accomplish the safety standards through means that don’t create unique barriers.”

The government’s own transportation consultant Dan Hara made similar comments in his 2018 report to government titled, “Modernizing Taxi Regulations,” in which he suggested alternatives to the Class 4 licence requirement.

The B.C. Greens have been the only party who have consistently brought this issue forward, including introducing legislation three times- April 2016, February 2017 and October 2017- under two governments. The third attempt spurred government to refer the subject to the all-party Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, which met again this spring to provide government with specific recommendations on the regulatory regime that would permit ride-hailing to operate in BC.

The 2019 report is available here.

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