If you have travelled just about anywhere, you may have used a ride share app that enabled you to get a ride quickly and efficiently with a pleasant driver. The best part of rideshare? You know the cost of the trip before you get into the vehicle, and the app shows you how many vehicles are in your area, ensuring you that there will be someone to pick you up. And if you travel by taxi in Vancouver, you may have experienced long waits, uneven service, and drivers that continually talk on their cell phone. Many seniors wait and wait for a taxi cab and are never picked up because their six or eight block ride is not seen as worthy enough financially for a taxi to bother. The taxi cab companies are required by city hall to pick up everyone even seniors~they just don’t do that in real life. And seniors hesitate to complain to the City’s Taxi Team (available by calling 311) because they are fearful of never ever getting a cab to come again.
It was therefore a bit of a surprise that after making a campaign promise to provide rideshares for this year that the NDP Provincial government is now saying not yet. Why? Because it needs to be studied, and Dan Hara has been hired with a contract in the $150,000 range to ” draft a new report and recommendations for ridesharing in British Columbia, which pushes any possible government legislation around the services to Fall 2018.”
The Fall of 2018. That’s one more year. As Matt Kieltyka reports in Metro News this latest development has annoyed the Green leader Andrew Weaver who stated
“I am very disappointed that the government will not keep its promise to bring ridesharing to British Columbians by the end of the year. We cannot be tech innovators if we’re not willing to embrace innovation.”
Of course there are studies that suggest that transit use can drop when rideshare is competitive in communities. But for a City like Vancouver that does not have adequate cab coverage in the first place, and cab companies that can pick and choose who they wish to carry in their cab, can’t we have another alternative? One that is a bit more senior and disabled friendly? While the Minister of Transportation states that the regulation and insurance of ridesharing is still unclear, other jurisdictions are doing it. And for many seniors waiting for that six or eight block ride where public transit options are not available, a more reliable rideshare would greatly enhance their quality of life.