New legislation around ride-hailing introduced in British Columbia this week has caused concern for a coalition of ride-hailing advocacy groups.
Shauna Brail, associate professor in urban studies at the University of Toronto, said British Columbia isn’t reinventing the wheel by regulating the industry.
Edmonton was the first Canadian city to regulate ride-hailing in 2016 and now 20 of Canada’s 30 largest cities have some form of regulations governing the operation of the services, she said.
“It’s possible that it’s a combination of a number of features from other jurisdictions that don’t all exist (elsewhere) as one set of regulations, but none of these are particularly brand new,” she said.
In August, New York City voted to cap the number of ride-hailing cars on the road after some studies showed congestion increased after the service was introduced, rather than decreased as expected, she said.
Brail agreed that controlling rates is more in line with the taxi industry than typical ride-hailing models. But Toronto charges companies like Uber a set fee per transaction, she said.
After Uber began operating in Edmonton, it temporarily pulled its service while the city developed an insurance plan for drivers and passengers, she said.
While British Columbia has been slow to join the game, Brail said, in some ways it has had the benefit of learning from others’ experience.
“They skipped over ride-hailing 1.0 and they’re at ride-hailing 2.0,” she said.