The idea of legislation being introduced in British Columbia to help the province adopt Uber and ride-sharing has gathered pace in recent months. B.C. remains one of the last major holdouts in Canada, although Uber announced yesterday it will leave Quebec next month.
However, B.C.’s Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has cooled expectations that Uber would come to the province soon. Asked during the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference on Wednesday, Trevena explained how progress was slow:
"At the moment, we're working in general on getting to a stage where we can assess what to do next," she said.
"It isn't easy."
Vancouver remains the largest city in North American without Uber. Many argue the cities taxi industry is malfunctioning and needs the spur of competition that ride-sharing provides. Customers are also inviting of Uber.
However, Trevena stressed the various challenges facing the government as it attempts to find laws and regulations that would allow Uber to enter the market. For example, she says passenger safety must be paramount, while drivers must be properly insured, while the role of authorities like the Passenger Transportation Board needs to be decided.
Trevena said a system must also be found where ride-sharing and the traditional taxi industry can co-exist. It is a juggling act that virtually no other region in the world has manage to balance.
"We want to first work with the taxi industry to make sure it's working, that we're working on a fair and level playing field," she said.
"The taxi industry is full of small business people. We don't want to jeopardize small business."