Uber ups pressure on B.C. government

Fassbender says province won't be stampeded in its 'careful' review of possible sharing economy reforms

Uber's ride-matching app doesn't yet work in B.C. but 225

Uber's ride-matching app doesn't yet work in B.C. but 225

Uber is intensifying its pressure on the B.C. government to plow past taxi industry objections and allow it to launch its ride-hailing service in B.C. cities.

The U.S. firm bought radio ads this week highlighting long waits for taxis in Metro Vancouver suburbs and released an open letter to the premier urging the province to “embrace the future and act on ride-sharing this spring.”

It comes after Communities Minister Peter Fassbender in January pledged careful consultations on the issue – particularly with taxi firms – before developing a made-in-B.C. solution that would preserve some role for traditional taxis.

Uber Canada general manager Ian Black said in the letter to Christy Clark that 100,000 B.C. residents and another 125,000 tourists opened the Uber app in B.C. last year to try to use the service.

He argued the ride-hailing industry would let thousands of people earn money on their own schedule driving their own cars, while reducing drunk driving through more reliable late-night transportation and expanding the reach of transit networks.

Uber also added a “future view” to its app for residents in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna to project how quickly an Uber car could arrive and what fare it would charge if B.C.’s policy changed.

Fassbender says he won’t be stampeded.

“It is not changing our direction and position that we’re going to do it carefully and wisely,” he said in an interview.

Fassbender said the province’s main goal is to give consumers choice, while ensuring their safety through regulations and mandatory insurance.

“Our second objective is to make sure we respect the taxi industry and the investments they’ve made in their families and in their communities so whatever we do is as close to a level playing field as it can be.”

While Uber is the most urgent issue, Fassbender’s review is also to examine other “sharing economy” issues, such as the rise of unregulated vacation rental service Airbnb.

“Clearly there is increasing pressure as a result of some of the things that have been happening in communities like Vancouver that Airbnb is being talked about more, as well as its effect on the availability of housing and the cost of housing,” Fassbender said.

He is to meet with Metro Vancouver’s board to discuss the review Friday morning.

Uber halted service in Edmonton after the city council there passed restrictive bylaws, which allow only conventional taxis to be hailed from the street, not Uber drivers.

B.C. Taxi Association president Mohan Kang called Uber’s tactics a gimmick.

“I’m not surprised,” he said. “They should be making sure they can address the public safety issue, including having adequate insurance, having training, looking after people with disabilities and seniors.”

Just Posted

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

poster
Drop-in Covid vaccine clinic in Mission June 17-18

Neighbourhood clinics complement appointment-based clinics currently operating in Mission

Stock photo by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay
Drop-in vaccination clinics slated in Abbotsford for construction workers

Among three sites in Lower Mainland holding no-appointment clinics in June and July

A CH-149 Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on a training exercise in Chilliwack on June 16, 2021. (William Snow photo)
VIDEO: Military search and rescue training in Chilliwack Wednesday

CH-149 Cormorant and CC-115 Buffalo from CFB Comox participated in downed aircraft rescue simulation

(Black Press Media files)
Get ready for mosquito season

Fraser Valley Regionsl District has already taken measures to curb the number of mosquitos

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read