First rideshare company approved to operate in B.C., Lyft and Uber still waiting for decision

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First rideshare company approved to operate in B.C.
WATCH: First rideshare company approved to operate in B.C. – Dec 16, 2019

The Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) has approved Green Coast Ventures Inc. to operate as a ride hailing company in British Columbia.

But with a little more than a week until Christmas, Uber and Lyft are still waiting to hear about a decision on their applications.

Green Coast Ventures has been approved to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler region as well as on Vancouver Island, excluding Capital Regional District. The company plans to focus its business on resort communities including Whistler and Tofino.

“To further illustrate the public need for TNS (ridesharing) in the resort communities, Green Coast refers to discussions it has had with major tourism service providers in Tofino and Whistler,” reads the Passenger Transportation Board’s decision.

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“For example, the owner of the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino estimates a demand of 25 ride hailing requests per day; the owner of the Wolf in the Fog restaurant in Tofino estimates a demand of 30 ride hailing requests per day for its customers.”

The board is still reviewing 22 other applications including Lyft and Uber.

The two major, international ridesharing companies were meeting with the UFCW 1518 on Tuesday before the Labour Relations Board to discuss the issue of ridesharing drivers being employees.

“The employment contracts that Uber and Lyft require their drivers to sign violate B.C. labour law and we want to ensure that ride hailing drivers’ rights are protected,” President of UFCW 1518 president Kim Novak said.

“In particular, she said, the contracts imply that drivers cannot join a union, which is in violation of the B.C. Labour Code.”

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The union filed its challenge to Uber and Lyft at the Labour Relations Board on November 27.

“Ride hailing drivers are exploited, underpaid and unsafe in jurisdictions around the world where Uber and Lyft operate,” Novak said.

“Drivers deserve the minimum protections that are provided to all workers in B.C. That’s why we’re asking the board to classify ride hailing drivers as employees so they can be covered by provincial labour standards.”

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WATCH (aired Nov 27, 2019): Tri-Cities establishes one ride-sharing licence

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Tri-Cities establishes one ride-sharing licence

Uber and Lyft have applied to operate in Metro Vancouver. They have both expressed concerns about the limits the provincial government put on the industry by requiring all ridesharing drivers to have Class 4 licences.

Lyft does not have an employment contract, all drivers are required to accept the company’s terms of service.  Those terms of service do not prohibit Lyft drivers from unionizing.

“Wherever Lyft operates, Lyft works hard to protect drivers’ rights, including drivers’ rights to participate in the ridesharing economy and earn income when and where it meets their needs,” the company wrote in a statement.
“We have been working cooperatively with regulators in B.C. for several years and are confident that we are complying with applicable local laws. We continue to have an open dialogue with British Columbians to share viewpoints and explain how our platform works.”
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The PTB declined to approve the application of LTG Technologies Ltd. to operate in the Capital Regional District, Vancouver Island, and Okanagan-Kootenays-Boundary-Cariboo.

The PTB says the decisions were made after a careful review of the extensive materials received during the application process which included the supporting information provided by the applicants and submissions from interested members of the public, which included information from experts.

“A business plan requires documentation on the market for the proposed product or service,” reads the PTB decision on LTG.

“The only market information contained in LTG’s business plan consists of a few references to the global market for ride sharing. There is no information on the market for ride hailing in the areas in which LTG proposes to operate.

“The directors of LTG do not have experience in operating a passenger transportation business.”

WATCH (aired September 4, 2019): Transportation Minister gives advice to independent board on ridesharing

Click to play video: 'Transportation Minister gives advice to independent board on ridesharing'
Transportation Minister gives advice to independent board on ridesharing

The PTB says questions concerning the potential launch date should be referred directly to the companies approved. Approved companies must now obtain appropriate insurance from ICBC and work with municipalities in its operating areas to ensure compliance with local by-laws.

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The board is reviewing applications based on the order in which they were received and when all information requirements were met.

“The board will be following the procedure which it has published and notifying the public as soon as decisions have been made,” reads a PTB info sheet.

“There was no political interference with these decisions. The Passenger Transportation Board recognizes that public statements have been made regarding the implementation of ride hailing but it alone is responsible for making those decisions under the Passenger Transportation Act.”

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