If waiting for a taxi on the North Shore has left you frustrated and wondering why we don’t have Uber or Lyft yet, then take solace that at least two local politicians are wondering too.
MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour Jane Thornthwaite and MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky Jordan Sturdy are irked by the NDP government’s decision to not bring ride-sharing to the province, a promise they had made to their electorate before the election.
Ride-sharing was a key election promise by the BC Liberal Party. Assuming they had won—and not reneged on the promise—ride-sharing would have been introduced this month.
“It was most frustrating that they were not keeping their election promises to bring ride-sharing to BC by the end of the year. My constituents are quite upset about that, particularly the people in the east of Seymour where transit isn’t that great and there are not enough taxis to serve the area,” MLA Thornthwaite says.
She says all three parties had promised ride-sharing and in the most recent BC Liberal Party convention, the motion to bring ride-sharing was the most popular and debated one. As many as 81 per cent delegates, including Thornthwaite, voted in that 2016 convention to urge the government to bring in legislation that would bring ride-sharing to BC.
“It was the number one motion to debate, and it was not just sponsored by our riding in the North Shore but also by others in Metro Vancouver. Certainly, there was myself driving this from the North Shore but there were other ridings in Metro Vancouver that brought this forward and because of that the government made a commitment that ride-sharing would come to British Columbia,” she says.
Ride-sharing was a key election promise by the BC Liberal Party. Assuming they had won—and not reneged on the promise—ride-sharing would have been introduced this month. The party also promised it would implement a new tax credit for people who use car-sharing services such as Evo, Car2Go or Modo.
MLA Sturdy says the new government’s backtracking on the issue of ride-sharing doesn’t bode well for solving transportation challenges that the community faces. “That is something that I think would be good for the community. If you add that to our existing transportation options and take advantage of the existing transport infrastructure, we could have dealt with some of the transportation challenges we are facing now,” he says.
Sturdy says NDP seemed to be beholden to the taxi industry and was in a consultation-analyses-paralysis type of situation. “I am not confident that they are going to be advancing this ride-sharing initiatives in the near future,” he noted.
The new NDP government announced it would commission a new study on regulatory and safety issue on ride-sharing, a few months after assuring the taxi drivers and taxi companies that it would work with them to “create a truly fair approach to ride-sharing in British Columbia that doesn’t unfairly benefit—or punish—one group over the other.”
MLA Thornthwaite says she is focussed on advocating for a skytrain to North Shore as the region is extremely under-serviced in the 10-year plan laid out by TransLink. “There was nothing for the North Shore and certainly nothing for my riding and that is when I jumped into gear and advocated a sky train to the North Shore,” she says.
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