B.C. TAXI ASSOCIATION
news & events

March 30-2017                                                                                                   

 

BC Taxi Association – Submission to Government

 

The BC Taxi Association has committed to government to prepare a submission of their concerns and issues regarding the government’s March 7, 2017 ride sharing announcement.

 

Issues:

 

Safety standards

 

Any entrant should have insurance at the level that the taxi industry already has, full police criminal background checks including biometric finger-printing and proper training to ensure public safety.  The taxi industry is highly regulated in BC and for good reason: to protect drivers and most importantly, to protect the public.

Currently, taxi drivers in BC require:

-        Class 4 licence

-        Chauffeur permit issued from law enforcement in the city that they operate in which includes a police background check

-        Commercial insurance

-        A licence approved by B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board

-        National Safety Code Safety Certificate

-         

The BC Taxi Association believes that any entrants to the market, including TNCs, should meet these basic requirements.  The BC Government announcement proposes to eliminate many of these basic requirements thus lowering the safety standards currently in place. 

 

Any background check requirements should require full biometric finger-print police background checks.  Many TNCs background checks, such as Uber’s, are outsourced to third-parties and are not full police background checks.  This has left gaps in the background check process which has led to some drivers with serious criminal backgrounds allowed to drive.  

Taxi drivers also currently require training such as that conducted by the Justice Institute of BC.  We believe that safety could be compromised if training requirements are eliminated as proposed by the BC Government.

 

While the BC Government has proposed that taxis and ride-sharing providers will require the same safety standards, TNCs should be required to meet our current standards.  The BC Taxi Association does not support lowering these standards as laid out by government.

 

The BC Taxi Association also believes that government should require that TNC vehicles have a permanent number on the rear of the vehicle.  We would also suggest exterior signage on the door but at a minimum a permanent number on the rear so that vehicles can be identified.

 

National Safety Code

 

In respect to vehicle inspections, they are currently conducted under the National Safety Code.  TNCs should be required to have the same mechanical inspections as taxis conducted by the National Safety Code every six months.

 

The National Safety Code prohibits taxi drivers from working more than 70 hours per week.  The same rules should apply to both taxis and TNCs.  We look forward to learning how government will monitor the number of hours that TNCs operate to prevent a safety hazard to the public.

 

Insurance

 

If flex insurance is going to apply to TNCs it should apply to taxis – they should only be charged commercial rates when they are carrying passengers and not when they are waiting or driving to a fare.  A level playing field would obviously adhere to the same rules.  Taxis and TNCs should be charged the same base rate and any extra liability insurance required by taxis should be required by TNCs.

 

Accessible Vehicles

 

Currently BC has one of the largest accessible taxi fleets.  Unfortunately, operating accessible vehicles is far more expensive than regular taxis and current operations have been subsidizing the accessible fleet operation.  If TNCs are allowed access to the market, taxi companies may simply not be able to afford putting the far more expensive accessible vehicles on the road.  The BC Taxi Association suggests that the government should require a certain percentage of TNC vehicles on the road at any time be accessible to ensure service to the community that requires it.

 

Fair Pricing

We are glad to hear that Minister Fassbender is looking at protecting the consumer from surge pricing as well as protections for the taxi industry against predatory pricing.  The BC Taxi Association strongly believes that there should be the same base rate for both taxis and TNCs.

 

Single App

 

We support the BC Government’s announcement regarding the development of a single app with the capability of a shared dispatch.  This will help improve customer service.  The BC Taxi Association is committed to start implementing regional dispatches as soon as possible in preparation for one single dispatch.

 

Crash Prevention Technology

 

We support the Government’s announcement regarding the installation of safety improvements such as crash prevention technology.  It has the potential to benefit passengers, the taxi industry as well as ICBC.  We do suggest that if taxis are required to have crash prevention technology, those TNCs should have the same requirement. 

The BC Taxi Association supports measures aimed at improving safety.  It has already installed other technologies to help improve public safety like safety cameras.

 

Passenger Transportation Board

 

The BC Taxi Association is fully supportive of the Passenger Transportation Board.  We believe there needs to be some regulatory body to ensure that taxis and any new entrants such as TNCs adhere to the rules and regulations.  There needs to be proper enforcement for both the taxis and TNCs.

The BC Taxi Association also believes that there should be a control on the number of taxis and TNCs.  Currently two transit agencies in San Francisco are asking for data from TNCs as they are looking how to control taxi issues. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority was quoted in a letter as saying:


“Much of the increase San Francisco has experienced in vehicular traffic can be attributed to the huge increase in the number of [ride-hail] vehicles operating on city streets.  The commission’s prior and current rule making process clearly has had a significant environmental impact.” 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/03/22/sf-lyft-uber-data-traffic-congestion.html

 

In addition, the government of Ireland lifted the limits on the number of licences issued in 2000.  Between 2000 and 2008, the number of taxi licences increased from 3,913 to 21,177, an increase of over 500%.  In 2010, the government of Ireland had to re-regulate and place a restriction on the number of licences. No control on numbers of vehicle do not help anybody including that of drivers or consumers . 

 

The BC Government should look at experience in other jurisdictions such as San Francisco and Ireland and consider a control on the number of taxis and TNCs. 

Through the Passenger Transportation Board, there should be assurances and/or regulation that smaller communities will not lose all of their service to larger communities.

 

Investment

The current taxi industry is and has been for decades very regulated as to new taxi entrants into the market.  The current Passenger Transportation Board and the Motor Carrier Commission before that has been mandated to regulate the public need on proven public demand.  Right or wrong, this regime has resulted with the government’s full knowledge in the sale and trading of taxi licences in amounts approaching $1 million for a Vancouver based taxi licence and hundreds of thousands of dollars for a suburban taxi licence.  Ordinary taxi drivers have mortgaged homes and used life savings to purchase taxi licences, which will now have a significantly reduced but undetermined value.  Will the government consider a “transportation fee” similar to an airport improvement fee that would result in some form of compensation to the current holders of taxi licences. 

 

The BC Taxi Association is working to ensure the economic viability of the taxi industry and its investors while continuously improving on its customer service.

 


 

 

 

 

                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    





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