B.C. organizations join forces to push ride-hailing in the province

The Ridesharing Now B.C. coalition has been formed by groups including the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council, Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Lyft.

Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council part of new Ridesharing Now coalition

A new coalition of B.C.-based organizations has launched a letter-writing campaign to B.C. politicians calling for a competitive ride-hailing industry in the province. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Nine organizations in British Columbia are joining forces to advocate for ride-hailing services in the province as soon as possible.

Ridesharing Now B.C. has been formed by groups including the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council, Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the San Francisco-based on-demand transportation company Lyft.

A news release from the coalition says it has launched a letter-writing campaign to B.C. politicians calling for a competitive ride-hailing industry "that can deliver much-needed choice to B.C. passengers.''

Supporters are directed to the website, where they can sign and email a letter to their representative in the legislature calling for speedy introduction of ride-hailing services.

Coalition spokesman Ian Tostenson says politics, rather than public opinion, is driving decision-making in Victoria.

He says the government sets the conditions that will attract ride-hailing services to B.C., and warns it should not be taken for granted that companies such as Lyft and Uber will inevitably operate in the province.

"The B.C. government appears to be moving toward a model that would simply replace the taxi monopoly with a one-app monopoly that favours taxis,'' Tostenson says in the release.

San Francisco-based on-demand transportation company Lyft is also part of the coalition. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Other anchor members of the coalition include the Vancouver Economic Commission, B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Finger Food Studios, the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association and the Urban Development Institute.

Anne McMullin, president and chief executive officer of the UDI's Pacific region says balanced, well planned communities depend on convenient, reliable and affordable transportation options.

"The Urban Development Institute is strongly encouraging the B.C. government to follow the lead of over 40 other Canadian jurisdictions that already benefit from ride-sharing, and take immediate action to introduce a framework to enable a competitive market for ride-sharing that increases choice for passengers,'' McMullin says.