BC’s never-ending ride sharing drama continues - The Orca
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BC’s never-ending ride sharing drama continues

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Naysayers are furious – but apparently don’t notice or care about the growth of app-based food delivery services.

Why is it so difficult to bring British Columbians what they so desperately want and need, when it literally happens in every other major city around the globe?

Why can’t we just get a Lyft?

With all due respect to Uber, Lyft was first to announce its plan to start offering their services this fall. That’s even with the Class 4 Commercial Licence requirement where prospective drivers need to train on how to turn a semi-trailer. Lyft literally forced the BC government to lay down their restrictions and red tape in the name of protecting the taxi industry.

The rules, however, seem to have left taxi owners feeling betrayed. Statements such as “Premier John Horgan broke his promise to us,” are in the headlines.

For years pessimists have predicted politicians would be kneedeep in this process, and muddy it into a fine mess. A mess it certainly is, one that Lyft plans to drive right through.

The current promise is Christmas. The driver application process starts September 3rd.

The latest lines added to the long list of yeah-buts include:

  • Ride shares are required to have the same “base flag rates” as taxis, meaning you pay $3.25 (or more) just to start your trip. There is no cap or max fare.
  • App-based services will not be allowed to pick up at Canada Place terminal when cruise ships are in.
  • No fleet limits. The bombshell for the taxi industry is that ride sharing companies will be able to operate without regional restrictions.

That last one gives some hope, I guess.

Our collective transportation pain is particularly acute for those who reside in the suburbs. Even if you can get a taxi downtown, odds are they will refuse your trip to Tsawwassen. It’s not worth it for them to drive 30km out of town only to ride back empty. An Uber or Lyft driver would. They might end their shift by parking in their suburban driveway!

In downtown Vancouver, there is nothing more frustrating than to attempt to hail a taxi to only watch one, after another, after another “out of area” cabs roll by…empty…not allowed to take on your fare.

“It’s not worth it for taxis to drive 30km out of town only to ride back empty. An Uber or Lyft driver would.”

It’s the rules, they say. Mustn’t break the rules.

Let’s break them and rewrite them for 2019 – because it’s time to consider other businesses suffering because of the lack of transportation.

One of the early narratives against ride sharing was how it would “gridlock our streets with congestion!”

One of the most contentious conversations I’ve had on this topic involved a scholar who stood firmly on the stance that we “absolutely cannot allow ride sharing because of the sheer volume of vehicles that would dangerously flood our roadways.

This left me to ponder: where was/is the congestion when services arrived to run for every citizen’s culinary whim?

Where is the strangling congestion by Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, or Door Dash? App-based food delivery services do not require Class 4 licenses to drive around to get you that Happy Meal or Double Double.

Are our roads more dangerously jammed with drivers scurrying all over to get us food?

“Where is the strangling congestion by Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, or Door Dash?”

It is wholly hollow to play the congestion card on ride sharing while turning a blind eye to food delivery.

Order a car to bring my meal – no problem. Order a car to take me to that very same restaurant to eat – mayhem.

Why so much concern for the taxi lobby and zero for restaurants? The lack of available taxis and/or ride sharing during peak times is unquestionably negatively impacting restaurateurs. Those who would in years past regularly head out on the town, don’t.

There’s no way home.

If people could more easily get where they need (or just want) to be they might just become a single-car or even no-car household. So many have embraced the Car2Go, Evo, Modo or Co-op — let’s solve the issue of the return trip.

It’s safe to say that the majority of British Columbians want some form of ride sharing, now.

Anyone who’s been trapped downtown on a dark, rainy night, simply trying to get home, wants it. Enough with the excuses – find the Middle. Give the people what they want.

Add your voice to the frustrated many here: ridesharingnow.com.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

  • Ride sharing isn’t just a Vancouver want. As Bob Price notes, the Interior wants on board too.
  • The topic was on Jody’s mind last week, as she and George Affleck discussed the future of ride sharing in UnSpun Episode 32.
  • Mark Milke argues ride sharing isn’t just good for consumers – but new immigrants, too.
SWIM ON