Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says B.C.’s transportation minister has confirmed that cities and municipalities don’t have the power to block ride-hailing in their communities.
Mayor Doug McCallum has indicated he doesn’t want to see it here in this city but Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said earlier this year that’s something he’ll “have to work through.”
“We’re looking at provincial regulations and how we can make sure that at-base ride-hailing is going to work in B.C. and that’s our priority,” Trevena told the Now-Leader at a board of trade luncheon in Surrey in January. “What happens in various jurisdictions I think is something the mayor is going to have to work through, but we’re looking at a provincial model.”
Huberman noted in a press release Thursday that the board asked Trevena for “clarification” concerning the city’s authority to block ride-hailing within its boundaries and was told the Passenger Transportation Board has sole jurisdiction over that, preventing bylaws from being drafted to the contrary. Municipalities will, however, be able to regulate ride-hailing and limit where they can stop or if the drivers can use HOV lanes.
McCallum could not be immediately reached for comment. Huberman said she wasn’t trying to give the mayor a poke.
“No, no, it’s just as you know we’ve been an advocate for ride-hailing, transportation choices that are needed not only in Surrey but in Metro Vancouver,” she said. “We just wanted to make sure and get clarification from B.C.’s transportation minister, who has authority for ensuring that ride-hailing can operate within city limits, or really throughout B.C., without any red tape. So that’s why we sent the letter to the minister.”
As for the time frame? Trevena indicated in January “it will be here by fall of 2019,” Huberman said. “We’re holding her to that – she said it’s going to happen and I am positive it’s going to happen in one form or another.”
“We are still pursuing the fact that with ride-hailing industries, or companies such as Uber or Lyft, that drivers can get a Class 4 licence is what the ministry is indicating,” Huberman said. “We want a Class 5 licence for ride-hailing industry participants. The minister’s continued response is to indicate a Class 4 will lead to more public safety accountability, but it also leads to more red tape, less choices for drivers, to be able to participate in the industry.”