An emergency resolution from White Rock council to the Union of BC Municipalities conference – asking for changes and further review of newly-established ride hailing company licensing conditions – failed by a narrow margin in a vote Friday morning (Sept. 27).
The resolution was defeated by 51.7 per cent of representatives at the Vancouver conference voting against it – and some 48.3 per cent voting in favour.
Coun. David Chesney was the only member of the White Rock delegation voting against the resolution.
While not opposing ride-hailing services on principle, the White Rock resolution took the position that current Passenger Transportation Board rules – which came into effect Sept. 16 – allow ride-hailing companies to unfairly compete against existing taxi companies.
It advocated that the UBCM send a letter to the board asking that the rules be withdrawn, noting that under the new rules, ride-hailing services don’t have to abide by the same regulations and restrictions that taxi companies do. It also noted that services can operate an unlimited number of vehicles, without any of them having to be capable of accommodating wheelchairs or mobility-impaired individuals, as taxi companies must.
White Rock is also asking the board separately to withdraw the rules and set up a further review of ride-hailing services in which cities, regional districts, public transit agencies and disabled advocacy organizations – as well as the public – weigh in on what restrictions and regulations should apply.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has previously announced his opposition to the city granting business licences for ride-hailing companies. Richmond has also written to the board asking that rules be changed to even the playing field between ride-hailing services and taxi companies, while a Delta motion to forward a similar resolution to White Rock’s to the UBCM failed at the council level.
White Rock resident Roderick Louis – who had originally suggested the resolution to council – said in an email to Peace Arch News following the vote that adoption of the resolution would have compensated for the UBCM, and a majority of cities and municipalities, not providing submissions to two public inquiries held by the BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations which had looked into criteria and restrictions for ride-hailing companies in BC.
“Responsible, competent public-body decision-making requires that Uber and Lyft’s many price-fixing court cases, fleet-size limits court cases, and planned court cases opposing drivers in other jurisdictions being classified as ‘employees’ should be decided before the BC government – and subsidiary bodies such as the Passenger Transportation Board – consider allowing ride-hailing companies to operate in BC,” he wrote.