A Delta city councillor is the latest to take issue with the Passenger Transportation Board’s (PTB) rules and regulations for ridesharing companies.
A motion introduced by Coun. Lois Jackson is asking the board to withdraw the regulations, arguing it has failed to consult municipalities, public transit agencies, and the general public on their thoughts on the industry.
The motion, which will be debated by council Monday, will also ask the city to submit an emergency resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) annual conference later this month for debate, asking it to send a similar request to the PTB.
Jackson says she wasn’t approached by taxi associations or ridesharing advocates prior to introducing the motion — but after more than 20 years taking cabs, she has only good things to say about taxi drivers in Delta.
“I would not feel the same way with a person that I didn’t know, whether that person actually had been tested, whether the vehicle was tested, whether they had insurance … on and on are the questions,” Jackson said.
“Plus the fact that they have a company that oversees all the vehicles and all the drivers.”
WATCH: (Sept. 5) Reaction to government letter on ridesharing caps
Popular ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft do require background and driving record checks, and specified vehicle, license and insurance requirements along with local requirements, according to their websites.
The province is also requiring drivers to carry Class 4 licences, which require a more intensive driving test and a clean driving record. The same licences are required for taxi drivers.
Jackson’s biggest personal issue with ridesharing is user safety.
“I don’t know about the safety issues,” she said. “They used to tell us years ago, really, you shouldn’t get into a car where you really don’t know who the person is.”
When asked about driver profiles and rating systems that exist for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, Jackson said she would support a similar system in cabs.
As for what the PTB’s response would be to such a request from the city, Jackson says it’s a political question.
“It’s a very vague answer that I must give, because you never know what’s going to happen with these issues,” she said. “All we can do is bring our concerns from the local level to the provincial government, who has jurisdiction.”
WATCH: (Sept. 4) Uber finally announces plans to operate in the Lower Mainland
The PTB is an independent tribunal established under the Passenger Transportation Act. But Jackson said she feels the board has made up its mind already on the matter of ridesharing, and the province has a part to play.
“Despite the fact that it is at arms-length from government, the government still has to have oversight of the organizations that they create. And I’m really hoping that if this passes and goes through UBCM, the government will listen and take action if they’re required under public safety,” Jackson said.
The influence the province exerts over the PTB has already been called into question over ridesharing, after Transportation Minister Claire Trevena wrote a letter to board chair Catherine Read raising concerns about the impact that a lack of caps could have on the taxi industry.
She insisted she was not trying to provide any advice or directives to the board.
The PTB released their list of regulations for ridesharing companies last month. The Vancouver Taxi Association launched a judicial review of the decision to not impose a cap on the number of cars that companies can operate.
Jackson’s motion follows comments from Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum that he will keep ridesharing out of his city.
“Every ridesharing company needs to have a business licence to operate in the City of Surrey,” McCallum said on Tuesday, adding he plans to not issue any licences.
Global News has reached out to the Passenger Transportation Board, Uber, and Lyft for comment.
—With files from Simon Little, Sean Boynton, and Richard Zussman