BC government will usher Uber onto taxi turf by December

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So says Anthony Perl, Director of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University, who has studied the impacts of app-based services like Uber and Lyft in large American cities.

"We are very excited to finally be in a position to look British Columbians in the eyes and say ride sharing is coming to our province", Stone said.

The ministry said it will move to create a level playing field for cab companies, including investing $1 million to help the industry create an app that would allow the public to order and pay for a taxi the same way they would with a ride-hailing service.

The province said it will resume talks with the taxi and ride-hailing industries this summer before finalizing its plan in time for the 2017 holiday season.

Uber had aggressively lobbied the B.C. government for approval over the past year, arguing it needed a special licensing scheme for its drivers that was separate from traditional taxis.

Opposition NDP Leader John Horgan said his party, if elected, would do a deeper consultation with the taxi industry to ensure local businesses are protected. In addition, auto insurance provider ICBC will give $3.5 million to equip B.C. taxicabs with crash avoidance technology and improve the insurance system for ride-hailing.

Taxi drivers will keep the exclusive right to be hired by phone or flagged down on the street or at taxi stands.

Mistry said he and his colleagues are still digesting the March 7 announcement but they believe it's most likely a positive development for the company. It will also work to remove municipal boundaries so that cabs and ride-hailing companies can operate anywhere.

"Instead, what they've done, apparently, is create a level playing field by reducing the standards".

Fassbender said other cities have welcomed taxi alternatives too quickly and ended up facing unexpected consequences.

Though it is arguably the leading ride sharing company, Uber has also been beset with controversy the past few months, including allegations of allowing a sexist culture, surge-pricing during major events like terrorist attacks, and ignoring the municipal bylaws and rules within jurisdictions where it operates.

Taxis are now under the overlapping jurisdiction of both the province and the municipalities of Metro Vancouver, Meggs explained.

British Columbia unveiled new rules Tuesday that pave the way for the controversial companies to bring their services to Vancouver and other cities in the province - as long as the government wins re-election in a vote scheduled for May. But the Vancouver driver would not be able to pick up a passenger in Coquitlam while driving back to his home base.

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