(File photo - THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Richard Vogel)

Okanagan partners respond to provincial ride-hailing requirements

The Sustainable Transportation Partnership of the Central Okanagan states its position

In light of the new ride-hailing regulations from the provincial government, Okanagan city partners are making their voices heard.

In a letter penned to the minister of transportation and infrastructure Claire Trevena, the Sustainable Transportation Partnership of the Central Okanagan (STPCO) reiterated its position on the regulations, most specifically the driver licence class requirements, which require prospective drivers to have a class 4 commercial license.

“The introduction of Transportation Network Services (like Uber and Lyft), increases mobility options, reduce the need for parking (and) lower impaired driving rates.”

“We’re disappointed to learn that the regulation insisted on a class 4 license. Limiting drivers to only those who hold a minimum of a class 4 licence could greatly limit the viability of ride-hailing as a transportation option in our region and in other areas across the province.”

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The STPCO board is a formal partnership of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland, Westbank First Nation and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

While in the letter, the board supports the flexible approach on the issues of boundaries, rates and supply of service to meet consumer demand, they insist that a minimum class 5 license would be the most appropriate, which has different requirements than a class 4.

“Other than some additional training and medical screening, the most significant barriers to holding this (class 4) license are the requirement of having to have been a driver in B.C. for two years and the increased time and cost associated with carrying the license,” the letter reads.

“Installing a class 4 license as the minimum will unfairly impact young people and new immigrants who would need to wait up to three years before working for a ride-hailing service.”

READ MORE: Lyft to launch ride-hailing in Lower Mainland before end of year

READ MORE: B.C. ride-hailing licence fees set, applications accepted in September

Ride-hailing services are expected to start in the fall.

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