British Columbia

Uber set to address all-party B.C. MLA committee in Vancouver Monday

For the first time, ridesharing company Uber will make its pitch to a committee of B.C. MLAs — although legislation allowing the company to operate here could still could be months away.

Committee is expected to produce a report next month

The NDP had promised to bring ride-hailing to B.C. by the end of 2017 but in October delayed that promise. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

For the first time, Uber will make its pitch to a committee of MLAs — although legislation allowing the ridesharing company to operate in B.C. still could be months away.

The government says the committee is expected to produce a report next month, and that legislation should be in place by the end of the year. 

Ride-hailing, provided by companies like Uber, allows customers to order and pay for a ride by using their smartphones. 

The all-party committee will study the issue at the same time as an industry expert looks at the taxi side of the equation. Uber public policy manager Michael van Hemmen said the two services should be able to work side by side.

"We'll be able to share some information from other cities about ride sharing — and taxi and bike sharing and car sharing — and how they all work as part of a transportation ecosystem that allows people to reduce their reliance on personal automobiles," he said.

"I'm thrilled we're actually beginning to see a path forward to get and enable ride hailing in British Columbia," said Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

Weaver said the committee will consider insurance, public safety and the impact of ride-hailing on different communities and municipalities across the province.

The NDP had promised to bring ride-hailing to B.C. by the end of 2017 but in October delayed that promise.

With files from Justin McElroy

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