Uber
(File Photo)

BC’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) has just announced a new round of strict regulations for Transportation Network Service (TNS) companies, like Lyft and Uber, in the province.

They include information on pricing, operating regions, and fleet size.

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According to the PTB, ride-sharing companies must charge the same minimum rate for rides as taxi companies charge, but have no limit on maximum rates.

The ability to increase rates is designed to encourage ride-share drivers to operate during peak hours, which offers more availability for people in need of a ride.

Meanwhile, the PTB have set no size maximum for TNS fleet sizes. While a limit may be introduced later, the PTB is allowing for ride-sharing companies to grow their fleet sizes as much as possible when the service is introduced in the province later this year.

See also: Victoria just got its first all-in-one taxi hailing app

Lastly, the PTB announced the regions that ride-sharing companies are allowed to operate in throughout the province.

When the service launches, drivers will be allowed to pick up passengers in one of five regions across the province and drop them off anywhere else.

The five regions are:

  1. Lower Mainland, Whistler
    • Metro Vancouver
    • Fraser Valley
    • Squamish-Lillooet
  2. Capital
    • Capital Regional District
  3. Vancouver Island, excluding CRD
    • Cowichan Valley
    • Nanaimo
    • Comox Valley
    • Alberni-Clayoquot
    • Strathcona
    • Mt. Waddington
    • Qathet (Powell River)
  4. Okanagan-Kootenay Boundary-Cariboo
    • Okanagan-Similkameen
    • Central Okanagan
    • North Okanagan
    • Kootenay Boundary
    • Shuswap Cariboo
    • Thompson-Nicola
    • Columbia
  5. BC North Central & other regions of BC
    • Fraser-Fort George
    • Bulkey Nechako
    • Kitimat-Stikine
    • Peace River
    • Northern Rockies
    • North Coast
    • Island Trust
    • Sunshine Coast

The operating regions have caused some complaints by taxi drivers on the Lower Mainland, who have much smaller operating zones.

For example, a taxi driver in Surrey is unable to work in other municipalities in Vancouver due to existing boundaries, while ride-sharing drivers are able to operate throughout Metro Vancouver.

Meanwhile, TNS companies are not entirely pleased with the PTB’s new round of regulations.

“We appreciate the Passenger Transportation Board’s decision to establish an innovative model that does not include municipal boundaries and caps at this time,” said Lyft BC General Manager Peter Lukomskyj in a statement.

“While we are disappointed that the regulations do not include a provincial boundary, we are pleased that large geographic regions were taken into account.”

See also: NDP introduces legislation that will allow ride-sharing in BC by fall 2019

The PTB will be accepting TNS company applications starting September 3rd, 2019. Ride- sharing services could then be introduced in BC by the end of the year.