The leader of the B.C. Green Party announced Thursday that a select standing committee made up of MLAs from all three parties will investigate ride-hailing for the province and produce a report for February 2018 that would inform future legislation allowing the service.
"My goal with this committee is to make this the last holiday season in which British Columbians are faced with fewer transportation options than every other major city in North America," said Andrew Weaver.
Ride-hailing, provided by companies like Uber, allows customers to order and pay for a ride by using their smartphones. Experts say that in order to allow ride-hailing, cities must make sure they face the same regulations as taxi companies.
Weaver says the select standing committee on crown corporations — made up of MLAs from all three parties — will speak with expert witnesses, debate the issue and produce a report by February 15, 2018, which will be used to craft ride-hailing legislation.
The NDP had promised to bring ride-hailing to B.C. by the end of this year, but in October stalled on that promise. Instead it commissioned a new report based on consultations with the taxi industry and other stakeholders by an independent industry expert.
Weaver says his committee will look more closely at ride-hailing itself.
"The committee's report will tackle key questions not addressed in the terms of reference created by the government for their review of the taxi industry," said Weaver.
He says the committee will consider insurance, public safety and the impact of ride-hailing on different communities and municipalities across the province.
On three occasions, Weaver has introduced a bill in the provincial legislature to allow ride-hailing in the province.