Federal Competition Bureau calls for rethink of B.C. taxi regulations

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VICTORIA — The federal Competition Bureau wants British Columbia to re-examine its taxi regulations to permit more competition in the industry and improve services for riders and businesses.

The Uber app is displayed on an iPhone as taxi drivers wait for passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday March 7, 2017. The federal Competition Bureau wants British Columbia to re-examine its taxi regulations to permit more competition in the industry and improve services for riders and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The bureau’s report says it will urge a B.C. government committee reviewing transportation network services to level the playing field for taxis and ride-hailing providers.

An all-party legislative committee on Crown corporations was asked last year to provide recommendations on regulations on transportation network services for the legislature by March 31.

The Competition Bureau says it will submit recommendations to the committee to ensure fair regulations that do not favour taxi providers or ride-hailing platforms.

The bureau says it will urge the committee to allow drivers to have flexibility to choose their own service areas and allow market forces to determine how many drivers are available to serve passengers.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena introduced legislation last year that she said could see ride-hailing services introduced in B.C. sometime this year.