Jas Johal

Vancouver: The BC Liberals are supporting suburban taxi companies in their call for a single zone of operation to ensure a level playing field with ride-hailing services.

“John Horgan and the NDP betrayed British Columbians by flip-flopping on their promise to create a level playing field for ride-hailing and have instead cooked up a convoluted framework that picks winners and losers in the marketplace to benefit their insider friends,” said Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “Nobody is happy with this broken promise. Not taxi drivers, not ride-hailing services, and certainly not British Columbians. The traditional boundaries that define where taxis can and can’t operate are outdated and don’t represent our modern need for an integrated transportation network for a growing population.”

Suburban taxi drivers, including many from the B.C. Taxi Association, have called for the elimination of municipal taxi borders so they could better compete with ride-hailing, especially in places like Surrey. The BC Liberals believe the province needs both a strong taxi industry and ride-hailing services which is why they have long advocated for a level playing field so both can provide British Columbians with more transportation options throughout the province.

“We campaigned in 2017 with a detailed framework that would have seen ride-hailing operating on a level playing field with the taxi industry here in British Columbia by Christmas that year,” added Johal. “Over two years later we have John Horgan and the NDP finally getting around to it and setting significantly larger boundaries for ride-hailing compared to those for taxis. It is time to scrap these zones and let companies fairly compete for us as customers.”

While ride-hailing companies can begin applying to operate throughout the province in September, Lyft has only announced plans to operate in Metro Vancouver and Uber has expressed that operating outside of Metro Vancouver is likely not possible. Whether the North Shore, Surrey, Delta, and the Tri-Cities will be included in Lyft’s operations is unclear.

“Instead of adopting the model that works well all around the world, John Horgan and the NDP concocted their own ride-hailing scheme that has left everyone unhappy,” concluded Johal. “As Vancouver becomes the last major North American city to get ride-hailing, it is time to take a look at our transportation networks as a whole, scrap antiquated taxi boundaries, and enter the 21st century.”