Province taken to task

Kelowna city councillor Ryan Donn has taken the province to task for dragging its feet on the introduction of ride hailing.

During a discussion on yet another request from the province for city input, Donn let his frustration show over the delay in implementing ride hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft.

He said the lack of an alternative to taxi service, and a shortage of cabs at peak times, is putting people's lives at risk.

"We have kids and youth who are not able to get home safely after a night on the town," said Donn.

"I know after Christmas parties most people know now they won't be able to get a ride home. That's not really an acceptable place to be. It's unsafe."

With polls showing a vast majority of British Columbians in favour of ride hailing, Donn says he expected a government announcement in the fall would usher in the service in the spring instead of another review.

"I just fear we're going to be in 2020 before it's actually going to happen, and that's not really acceptable.

"It's just delay tactic after delay tactic. We need this option as barrier-free as possible. Rather than look at trying to take Uber and translate it into a taxi, maybe reduce the regulations that taxi drivers deal with and insure it's still safe and flexible."

This is not the first time Donn has used his council platform to show his frustration.

Council agreed to send the second letter to the province at its meeting Monday.

The response included:

Boundaries - Drivers should have the flexibility to serve the entire region without restrictions as taxi drivers have.

Supply and Demand - There should be no cap on the number of drivers. It would result in an under supply of service at peak times.

Price - Controls should be as flexible as possible. To compete fairly, taxis should be able to respond with similar price adjustments for rides hailed through a mobile app.

License - Class 5

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