On Oct. 31, Premier John Horgan said he is confident that Uber and Lyft will be operating in BC for the 2019 Christmas season. But local transportation network service applicant, Ryan Staley, says it will be into 2020 before ride-hailing services will be available on the Sunshine Coast.
Staley applied to the province’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to provide transportation for paying passengers in privately owned vehicles in late October. He expects it will be about 12 weeks before decisions on licensing will be finalized.
While he waits for approvals, Staley, who plans to operate his service under the name Coastal Rides, has been participating in webinars put on by the PTB regarding service regulations and standards. The board has developed requirements for ride-hailing operation. Vehicles used within the services must be less than 10 years old and pass commercial vehicle inspections. There will be requirements for identification to be displayed on the vehicles when they are being used in ride-hailing, but those are yet to be determined.
Drivers will be required to have Class 4 or higher licensing and to be screened for criminal offences. Staley invites residents interested in working in the ride-hailing industry on the Coast to contact him via his company’s website, coastalrides.ca. He notes that he will also be screening driver applicants through the lens of a parent. “Anyone driving in for Coastal Rides will have to pass the test of would I feel comfortable having them driving my daughter,” said Staley.
In researching the issue, Staley heard two scenarios where improved local transportation needs were frequently repeated by Coast residents: for safe rides home from outings where alcohol was being consumed, and drop-offs at the ferry or other transportation services.
“Ride-hailing opens the door to something that is new and innovative to meet the transportation needs of locals as well as visitors,” said Staley. “Helping locals get around when they don’t have access to a vehicle is the main part of my vision for Coastal Rides. The service could also set the Coast apart as a destination that is easy to get to from the Lower Mainland as well as easy to enjoy without having to put a vehicle on a ferry. Fewer visitor vehicles coming to the Coast will mean reduced impacts for locals who need to travel on the ferry.”