B.C. government reconfirms that ride-hailing drivers must have a Class 4 licence

This hasn't gone over well with Lyft, which is one of the biggest players in the industry

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      Ride-hailing companies will be allowed to file applications with the Passenger Transportation Board by the start of September, according to the B.C. government.

      But anyone who wants to provide this service will be required to have a Class 4 licence, according to a government statement released today.

      In addition, drivers will be required to undergo criminal-records and driver-records checks.

      “British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government," Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said in a government news release. "We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise.”

      But the managing director of the ride-hailing company Lyft Canada, Aaron Zifkin, has claimed that the requirement for drivers to have a Class 4 licence "will not improve safety but will increase wait times and benefit the taxi industry".

      "Lyft does not currently operate ride-sharing in any jurisdiction that requires drivers to change their driver’s licence to a commercial driver’s licence," Zifkin said in a statement.

      He also declared that Lyft remains hopeful that it can "provide the same proven transportation network enjoyed in Ontario and the U.S. to B.C."

      The chief of the Delta Police Department, Neil Dubord, on the other hand, applauded the government's regulations.

      “People need to feel safe when they get into a ride-hailing vehicle, which is why police chiefs across B.C. are supportive of the province’s new regulations, including the provincial record check,” Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee, said in the government news release. “These changes will go a long way to improve passenger safety in the industry.”

      ICBC will have a new insurance product available for people in the ride-hailing industry. It will be based on kilometres driven and provide compulsory third-party liability and accident benefits.

      The annual licence fee will be $5,000 to provide ride-hailing service.

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