Horgan calls for protection for passengers, fairness in taxi industry

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VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberals need to take action to protect safety and jobs in the taxi industry, says New Democrat Leader John Horgan. He echoes concerns from the Coalition of People with Disabilities and Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations.

“With app-based ride shares and cabs like Uber trying to make headway in this province, the B.C. Liberals must take steps now to show them that the same rules will apply to everyone making a living in passenger transportation,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan.

“Rules like criminal record checks for drivers, proper insurance and safe vehicles exist to protect passenger safety in the taxi industry. Online companies should not be allowed to bypass these rules, putting passengers at risk and undercutting our locally owned taxi industry, which supports thousands of B.C. families.”

Horgan says app-based ride-shares and cab companies should fall under the rules of the Public Transportation Board, and should be subject to the same standards as licensed taxi companies. He is calling on the B.C. Liberals to take a strong stance against operators who wilfully break the law.

“I am calling on Premier Christy Clark and her government to commit to holding companies like Uber to our provincial standards. I’ve proposed a bill that would bring these operators under the law with stronger enforcement tools.”

Horgan will introduce legislation next week to ensure that app-based ride-share and cab companies fall under the Passenger Transportation Act and raise the maximum fine for someone operating without a permit from $5,000 to $20,000.

“The B.C. Liberals should be speaking up for locally owned businesses and for passenger safety. Instead they are ignoring this problem,” said New Democrat Spokesperson Claire Trevena.

“The government’s failure to act is putting the livelihood of thousands of families in jeopardy,” added New Democrat Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains.

Backgrounder Attached: COSCO and Disability Alliance letters