In another step towards allowing ride-hailing services to operate in the province, the BC Ministry of Transportation has introduced regulations and an insurance policy outline for companies that provide these services.

These new regulations will allow companies to submit an application to operate in BC to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) by the beginning of September 2019.

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“Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall, with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government. We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise.”

These new rules provide a framework to ensure company and passenger safety, including the requirement of a minimum Class 4 license for all drivers.

This class of license is stricter than the usual class 5, and includes a background check that bans drivers who have a convicted criminal driving offence within the last 3 years, a medical exam, a vehicle inspection, and more.

The suite of regulations will take effect on September 3rd, 2019, thereby allowing the PTB to start accepting applications.

“People need to feel safe when they get into a ride-hailing vehicle, which is why police chiefs across B.C. are supportive of the Province’s new regulations, including the provincial record check,” said chief constable Neil Dubord, chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “These changes will go a long way to improve passenger safety in the industry.”

ICBC will also launch its new insurance product at the same time, which is a blanket, per kilometre insurance providing compulsory, third-party liability and accident benefits.

It will apply when the driver is providing ride-hailing services, with the driver’s own basic vehicle insurance policy applying in all other instances.

Here are the main highlights of this new regulatory framework:

  • Government will require all ride-hail drivers and taxis to hold a commercial Class 4 driver licence. Drivers must have a B.C. issued driver’s licence to drive a taxi, limo or ride-hail vehicle.
  • Drivers will require criminal and driver record checks. A driver cannot have four or more pointable convictions within two years or any serious driving infractions within a three-year timeframe.
  • Illegal operators can face fines of up to $100,000 per day. The registrar has the authority to issue administrative penalties up to $50,000 to licensed operators who fail to meet regulatory obligations. Seven new record check related offences have also been created.
  • The company or licensee is responsible for conducting a review of the driver and issuing a record check certificate for those drivers who meet provincial requirements. They are also responsible for hiring and monitoring drivers, reducing fatigue through adherence to hours of service requirements, and ensuring vehicles are mechanically sound and safe to operate.
  • A new 30 cent “per-trip” fee for non-accessible ride-hailing vehicles is being established to support funding for accessibility programs. New regulations will allow for accessible vehicles with side entry as well as rear entry that will provide more choice for the disability community.
  • Drivers of taxis and ride-hail vehicles will be required to conduct an annual inspection if the vehicle has logged 40,000 kilometres or less in the previous year. A semi-annual inspection will be required if vehicles log more than 40,000 kilometres or more in the previous year. Ride-hail vehicles cannot be older than 10 years to operate.
  • ICBC will sell a blanket insurance product directly to the ride hailing company. The rate for this blanket product will be based on kilometres driven.