U.S.-based Lyft has focused its marketing on providing safe transportation for women. (Lyft)

U.S.-based Lyft has focused its marketing on providing safe transportation for women. (Lyft)

Ride hailing might be B.C.’s Christmas present, John Horgan says

Premier says it’s a bit early to talk about unionizing drivers

B.C. Christmas partiers might be able to hail an Uber, Lyft or Tappcar in time for the holiday season, but Premier John Horgan is making no promises.

The NDP government’s promise to have smartphone-based ride hailing up and running by the end of 2019 still isn’t a sure thing, Horgan told reporters Thursday as the B.C. legislature wrapped up its fall session.

“We have 20 companies that have applied to operate in B.C., and Passenger Transportation Board is doing its job to ensure that we follow through on our commitment in a way that meets the needs of everyone in the community,” Horgan said. “Not just ride-hailing companies, not just those who are seeking ride hails, but also the existing [taxi] industry. I believe that’s appropriate.”

RELATED: B.C. ride hailing fees set, applications open

RELATED: Minister defends new steps for ride hailing

Horgan was also asked about the United Food and Commercial Workers’ application to the B.C. Labour Relations Board to declare Lyft and Uber drivers as employees rather than contractors. He allowed it’s a little early to do that, before drivers obtain their Class 4 commercial driver’s licences and companies are in a position to hire them.

“I would think we would want to get the ride hailing in place first, before we speak about how we deal with the labour board,” Horgan said. “That’s entirely within the purview of the unions and the drivers to work out how they would work with the companies that employ them.”


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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