Metro News and Jen St. Denis reports on the B.C. government’s announcement that ride-sharing legislation is coming. Surprise surprise, the announcement is made right before the Provincial election, and you may be able to use these services as early as December.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone states “We know that British Columbians want additional choice and convenience and ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft present real opportunities to provide new services for consumers through the use of technology.”
I’ve written in Price Tags before about taxi service in Vancouver. As a woman its been an unsettling experience personally-there is no consistency of service, sometimes the cab does not show up and they won’t pick up my senior neighbours for shorter rides to the grocery store. I have also been followed home by taxi cab drivers. And many of the drivers are talking away on their handheld cellphone while they are driving the cab. Sure you can discount my experience and call it anecdotal-but if I had that experience, what has happened to other people who might not know to lodge a complaint with the “Taxi Team”of the Vancouver Police Department?
Of course the Taxi cab companies are upset about ride share coming, and the Province will fund a one million dollar app for taxi companies to compete with ride share, along with ICBC investing up to 3.5 million dollars in the installation of crash avoidance technology. The Province has also said that they would “address” the current shortage of taxis and vehicles for hire, allow drivers to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere and streamline the ICBC claims process.
There is lots of background chatter about this decision, the politics, the lobbying, and the interest groups. Until there is more mass transit in the areas where people want to go, ride share is one way forward. Perhaps this like many disruptive technologies will be here for only a short time. And like many disruptive technologies it will put pressure on taxi cab companies to be more customer based and responsive.
Fortune.com noted that in a study of ride share services in New York City last summer that 11.1 million taxi rides were taken, representing a drop of 9 per cent from a year earlier, while Uber’s use increased by 121 per cent. However taxi drivers had twice as many riders per week compared to Uber drivers. The two million dollar study also showed that traffic in the city was not significantly increased by the use of ride share services.