British Columbia has finalized its legislation for the introduction of ride-sharing in the province, paving the way for Uber and Lyft to enter the market. However, Vancouver will remain the largest city in North America without Uber for the time being as auto insurance for ride-sharing is undecided.
Over the last week, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has said it can create a blanket coverage for ride-sharing drivers. At the same time, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) insists private insurers are the best avenue and competition in British Columbia is essential.
The ruling NDP government says a delay of between one and two years if likely before insurance infrastructure to support ride-sharing is in place. However, the opposing Liberals have proposed new legislation that would see Uber operating in the province by February 2019.
While the legislation is unlikely to be passed, the Liberals say it shows proof that the NDP’s delays are exaggerated.
“The NDP claims that it will take another year to two years before insurance is ready and ridesharing companies can even apply for a licence. The legislation we’re proposing today shows that claim is completely untrue,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone.
“We have a ready-to-go framework that will allow British Columbians to take their Valentine on a date in an Uber or Lyft.”
Close observers will recognize the legislation as it was originally drafted two years ago when the Liberals were in government and planning ride-sharing regulations. Instead of launching the legislation during its term, the Liberals decided to make it a campaign promise for the 2017 elections, which the party lost.
As we reported earlier this week, the legislation created by the NDP’s is too restrictive and could hamper Uber’s expansion in BC. The Liberals agree and says Uber and Lyft will likely be put off by the new regulations.
“Uber confirmed late last week that the NDP’s legislation would prevent them from operating in B.C.,” said Official Opposition Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure Jordan Sturdy. “Once again, NDP politicking and obstruction means B.C. is denied a critical service that the rest of the western world is able to enjoy.”