“I don’t want to use the word inevitable or out a gauntlet out there what I want to say clearly is we know technology is a part of the future of every industry.”
On top of his high profile TransLink portfolio, Minister Peter Fassbender has been tasked with reviewing Uber – listening to both sides of the debate before determining if any regulatory changes will be made to allow to ride-hailing company to operate in BC.
“The pressure is change. Change is not an unhealthy thing if you do it properly, and that’s what this government is committed to.”
Fassbender will say the province has to keep up with technological advances.
Last year the province warned the company not to launch, but Fassbender insists the government hasn’t changed its tune.
He wouldn’t give a timeline on when a decision could be made.
As the possibility of Uber hitting the market looms, BC’s taxi industry is looking to adapt to the changing tech environment.
It’s called E-Cab, a smartphone app using GPS technology and tracking to allow customers to book and pay for a cab online – much in the way services like Uber do.
Vancouver’s four ‘downtown’ cab companies already use it cooperatively – meaning customers are served the closest cab, regardless of who operates it.
Now, president of the B.C. Taxi Association Mohan Kang says Suburban taxis are interested.
“We would have done it either way, it is not only simply the Uber, it may have expediated it alittle bit.”
Kang says he’s not opposed to Uber, but wants the ride-sharing service to apply and abide by current regulations.
Not everyone is a fan of the the ‘E-Cab’ app.
Rob Slate is the Chair of Access for Sight Impaired Consumers and he says it excludes people who are blind or who have limited vision.
“When I launch the app all I hear when I use the voice over portion of the iPhone is “button button button.” It doesn’t tell me what those buttons do.”
Slate says the app needs improvements.
“A very simple change in the application making the buttons on the application accessible through the voice over feature in Apple and Android phones.”
He says the group has offered to test the app and offer recommendations but have been ignored.