Uber invests in B.C. mapping even though NDP platform promises fair treatment for taxi drivers

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      The recent B.C. NDP platform makes it seem like no one group of drivers will have an unfair advantage when it comes to ride-sharing services.

      "We need to 'level up' standards across the province to ensure we don't lose low-cost, predictable fares, accessible services, safe cars, and drivers subject to appropriate criminal record checks," the platform states. "We will create a level playing field for all providers, and make sure you can find a safe ride when you need it, including after sporting matches, events and on special occasions, when demand is highest."

      That's good news for the taxi industry and one reason why Surrey and South Vancouver constituencies with large South Asian populations elected New Democrats.

      But despite Premier John Horgan's high regard for the taxi industry, Uber Canada is continuing to invest in British Columbia in the hope of being allowed into the market.

      Today, the company announced that it will conduct an "urban mapping program", collecting images across Metro Vancouver.

      According to Uber Canada, this is "a key technology behind every successful Uber ride".

      That's because these maps and GPS ensure that passengers are matched with the closest available driver.

      "Over the past decade mapping innovation has changed our daily life," Manik Gupta, Uber's mapping boss, said. "That progress will only accelerate in the coming years especially with technologies like self-driving cars."

      Of course, Uber drivers might first need the approval Passenger Transportation Board, which shut down the ride-sharing service in 2012.

      ThA limo company owner, Gunter Schlieper, told the Straight at the time that he was responsible for notifying the board about Uber.

      “You can’t run a limousine 24 hours a day and only charge what they’re charging and still keep up the maintenance on the vehicle,” Schlieper said. “I’m afraid that with the Uber model, it’s going to be a race to the bottom for everyone.”