NEWS - Is Uber Coming to British Columbia?
The news agencies are busily discussing the possibility of Uber becoming active in Vancouver. Uber is a way to make money with your vehicle by sharing rides in your vehicle with people willing to pay less than taxi fare to you. You sign up as a driver with Uber and the Uber app puts people seeking a ride in touch with you via smart phone. A simple way to earn cash? Not in BC.
Before you sign up with Uber you should be aware that using your private vehicle for business purposes could void your insurance coverage should you be involved in a collision while carrying a paying passenger. Discuss this very carefully with your insurance agent before you sign up.
Be aware that the Passenger Transportation Act and Regulation require licencing and inspection as well as fare and territory control. Uber does not replace this and violations can be very costly, $1,150.00 in fact.
Regardless of the fact that Uber will currently accept your application as a driver in Vancouver, you should be aware of the significant pitfalls related to your participation under current BC laws.
If you're not licensed, then you're not qualified ...
... it's not that there aren't some crappy drivers out there behind the wheel of taxis, buses, and trucks - but at least there's some regulation in place, including Driver Examination (including medical and competence standards), Government Vehicle Inspection (to ensure mechanical safetey), Licensing and Insurance (to protect the customer).
Nobody knows this better than I do, as a Driving School Owner/Operator and licensed Public Transportation business.
Uber has no place in B.C. and any attempt that they make to set up operations here should be vehemently opposed by all levels of government.
Hundreds of thousands of drivers make single trips in Vancouver everyday.
Carpooling and ride-sharing has always been opposed by the taxis (legalized racket), transportation systems (budget troth) and insurance company(es) (legalized racket).
The truth is - people are no longer required to run the "economy" on this planet. As such people have been left hanging with little income while their environment is being destroyed for the short term commercial gain.
Uber is a "crowd sourced" ride sharing with great reputation and is a hit in all the cities it caters to.
It will decrease traffic, it will increase car pooling, it will make money into the human economy and it will make better drivers.
I can see how someone who went through all the hoops would be threatened by the "short cut" into making money carrying passengers, but this position would be based on the same negatives as all the other "stake holders" listed above.
Wright brothers didn't have a pilot's license, their flying machine didn't have FAA inspection or certification, they weren't even licensed engineers - just a couple of garage junkies - but just over 100 years ago they flew up into the air, forever changing the world. Uber has the potential to change the world, and I simply cannot be against that.
If none of you have used crowd sourcing - you don't know the potential of the people. Just using services like Fiverr (a website where you can order gfx design, voice overs, webdesign, etc) shows how real people, working for themselves directly, are geniuoses of customer service, epitome of courtesy, happy and grateful to provide the best services they personally can. Kickstarter - if you haven't heard of it - is also changing the world via crowd sourcing - bringing the power to the people and making long term investments in humanity.
Certainly dealing with people carries its risks and the onus of due diligence is very high - otherwise your money is lost, or in the case of Uber - you could be risking your life getting into a car with a bad driver. But is it really Uber's fault that there are bad drivers? Or maybe it's the licensing authority that lets out all these unqualified drivers onto the roads so that they can too pay a $300 per month for something that is legally required in order to operate a transportation conveyance?
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Is that it?
Ha ha, I thought you might have an opposing viewpoint! Good to see you posting again, here.
But let's consider some of your statements and opinions, please.
Just over 40 years ago, before ICBC ever existed, the Motor Vehicle Branch (or whoever was in charge of licensing in this province back then) introduced License Classification and mandatory Airbrake Certification; for some reason, they figured that being able to become a truck or bus driver just by paying another dollar at the License Office needed to be addressed. Perhaps this was because, in our mountainous terrain, far too many supposedly professional drivers were running off the road, unable to control their vehicles. And the number of crashes amongst these classes of vehicles has declined ever since, even while the number and weight of these vehicles has increased. Not surprisingly, other jurisdictions have followed suit with similar regulations, requirements, and restrictions.
And around 10 years ago (to my recollection) there was a horrible crash involving an 18-year old woman driving an overloaded van full of berry-pickers on the freeway out near Abbotsford; it is my belief that this was the trigger for the transference of authority from the Motor Carrier Commission to the Passenger Transportation Authority - the goal being to improve public safety.
These people who we charge with the responsibility to license and govern are not perfect, and cannot guarantee safety - every driver you saw today who changed lanes without signalling, or cruised through an amber light they could have stopped for was demonstrating a different behaviour from the day they took their Road Test - and oftentimes they can be authoratitive, ineffective, political, and downright difficult to deal with (whilst also costing a lot of money due to regulatory requirements - and believe me, I am a lot more aware of this than you are) and there is always room for improvement in how they control things.
But to suggest that there should be no controls, well ... try that thing I suggested earlier. Make sure your airbag works - it should, of course, because there are regulations in place to ensure this. And try not to hurt anybody else, of course.
Certainly, lets consider
Cell-phone use is a buzzword in this new-speak propaganda perspective that surrounds the media around us, no doubt at the command of the highest management in the insurance company that now spends as much money "defending" (clawing back) as they are paying out to the claimants. You cannot rely on their information as their dealings are murkier and murkier every year; and the "issue" of governmental siphoning funds off to the general revenues still being completely unaddressed.
Effectively you are paying more for the insurance because you are told to pay more, and whatever excuse they can come up with to "re-direct" your wraith is a good excuse. Sure blame the people talking on cell-phones - it happens, you can see it, so it's there. From the numbers perspective the cell-phone use is SKYROCKETING, but the accidents are actually still declining. It's just another sham like speed-kills. The most viable quality of these shams is that people believe them easily.
Obviously you should not be penalized in the way of higher premiums if your true performance record shows that you had no claims - and your vehicle is now cheaper/older - and you completed another year of driving experience. I'm paying $60 more this year as well - no at fault claims, no tickets, and I'm doing it with gritting my teeth and lubing my nether.
You speak as if the desire to stay alive is no longer prevalent in humans. Rules are necessary to keep everyone on the same page - so that drivers have a good idea of what to expect from other road users. Rules are a way to mitigate intersecting traffic with-out drivers having to guess at each others intentions. Adherence to the rules is dependent on the survival instinct first, social norms second (part of the natural survival strategy), and enforcement third (when it is present).
Seat-belts and air-bags are regulation based - but not onto the people - you can still drive a car with no air bags, not sure about seat-belts as those came earlier. Regulating car manufacturers to make their vehicles safer yielded historically the best effect. That is why I believe that is the correct approach.
Licensing should be stricter and tech inspections should be required for every road user - but that precludes people from driving and thus buying insurance and cars - this is heavily opposed by the "stake holders" as a move against their bottom line. Not in the interests of society or intrinsic safety.
You suggest I drive on the opposing side and disregard the rules (twice), I think I do have the skills and local road knowledge to do this - just make an offer that would be sufficiently high for me to undertake the risk to my well-being, my potential legal standing decrease, and reimburses the likely victims of such experiment if there are any. Dozens of senior citizens in North America drive in the wrong direction on the highways everyday - not all of them die instantly. I don't think this is impossible, however I would not be subjecting myself and others to pointless risk.
And the final point I am making is that every driver that is out on the roads (lawfully: licensed and insured) should qualify for Uber, and the fact that you do not believe so - is the direct reflection on the licensing authority. But... if Uber is allowed to proceed - it will expose these shortcomings - it will make them public (by people writing their horror stories) - and the change will ensue.
There is no reason what-so-ever that is related uniquely to Uber as far as the driving ability, accident liability or proper licensing is concerned. Uber is will only improve the final situation by making this issue a lot more public.
What I think is happening with your opinion is that it is polluted by the false-positive assurances that our monopolies provide - regulation, liability coverage, rules and enforcement. Those are not the effects of the monopolies - taxis still drive in shoddy mechanical condition, class 1 licensed haulers still drop their loads in to the ditches on the highways and accidents still occur. I think Uber is an attack on the artificial "spots under the sun" these stake-holders hold on with their teeth - because it's their money - your safety and financial well-being is far from their primary concerns.
And in conclusion, you seem to confuse libertarian views or political positions with rational authoritarianism. There is no place on the road for politics, emotion or dilly-dallying. It's a move along or get wrecked environment - it can only be approached with rational authoritarianism.
It's time to climb out of the Jello Tree. Or something.
Outrageous, with respect, I believe you need to recognize that there's an important difference between opinion and knowledge, as there is also between hyperbole and fact.
It's very common these days for people to confuse these, and all too often to attack the person with a different viewpoint, rather than their (hopefully) rational argument; I believe we can probably agree on this(?).
Cell-phone use may be a "buzzword", as you put it, and ICBC may be all too willing to asign the blame for insurance increases on factors like this; quite frankly, I don't believe they like operating under the auspices of the BC Utilities Commission, particularly as they were just forced to issue refund cheques in varying amounts to many BC drivers a few months back as a direct result, which is probably also part of the reason for their increase in our rates this year. And for sure, Christy Clark and her Cohorts have no business skimming zillions of dollars off the top from this Crown Corporation, as fiscal surpluses should be returned to all the vehicle owners who have been unfairly bilked of their hard-earned money.
Cell phone use has skyrocketed over the last decade, but it's also reached something of a saturation point in terms of new consumers. But how do you determine that the 'accidents are actually still declining' we all wonder? The fact is that the number of collisions (I hate the word accident) attributed to distracted driving has increased tremendously. And this has been proven in a number of studies conducted around the world from Australia to Zanzibar (OK I might have made up that bit about Zanzibar, but you get my point, this is not just a BC/ICBC thing by any means).
Certainly not my intention, it's our most fundamental instinct. But the essential question or issue is not the desire to stay alive, but the perception of risk.
You'll find that the effective function of these (as a responsibility of the vehicle owner) and use (by the vehicle occupants) of safety devices such as these are dependent on how the vehicle was manufactured, and the regulations in effect at that time. I've driven a number of vintage cars, from a 1911 Overland to a 1941 Packard, that featured none of these things, but it's perfectly legal to do so. If I'm not mistaken, BC Law dating back to 1967 still only requires front seat lap belts, but Canadian Federal standards (which typically mimic the American ones) supersede them.
Now without seeming to be difficult here (honestly!) I disagree. Back in the 60s, regulation was definitely needed; ask Ralph Nader. The manufacturers of the time vehemently opposed and lobbied against much that we take for granted these days - a day/night mirror, an outside rearview mirror for the driver, shoulder-belts, padded dashboard, recessed knobs on the dash, telescoping steering wheel, safety glass in the windshield, an inside mirror with a day/night switch that would also break away if your head hit it, instead of vice versa. Probably some other stuff that I've forgotten, but you get the idea; these had to be forced onto the automakers.
But in more recent times (90s to the present), following the Bosch/Mercedes ABS development (which Lexus quickly capitalized on to create the first Stability systems) we have seen a major shift amongst the car buying public; General Motors made the business decision to install ABS on all of their vehicles far ahead of NHTSA requirements, as they realized that public demand was there and be damned to regulation. The rest is history; but virtually every manufacturer is touting safety as a primary feature of their vehicles these days.
Not sure what you're meaning by stricter licensing if you have imported a vehicle from another province, or another country, to BC then you would be aware that quite stringent controls and mandatory standards are in place - I've done both, and know of which I speak. And if you seriously believe that ICBC are intentionally against the concept of disallowing unsafe vehicles on the road (because owners/drivers won't drive, purchase cars, or insure them) then you're seriously misguided.
But on tech inspections, I'll give you no argument; they should never have closed the inspection stations back in 1984. We're fortunate in as much as mechanical excellence and longevity have improved tremendously at the same time; but idiocies such as the Ford Explorer/Firestone debacle should never have happened in the first place.
Forgive me, I was attempting to be ironic. It is such a frequent occurrence for you to speak out against rules and regulations. Pleased to hear that you agree with, and abide by, the fundamentals such as driving on the right, etc.
I bet you they don't do it twice ... (sorry that's my awful sense of humour kicking in, there). Actually, in my experience, many seniors intentionally self-regulate; i.e. no night driving, or freeway driving, for instance.
But they're not false-positive assurances. There are far too many factors at work, here; including, more than anything, the human element. Driving is not, and never will be, devoid of risk. Same thing with walking down the stairs, or plugging in an electrical appliance. But regulations (and their enforcement) can and do reduce the risks inherent in these activities, and these same same regulations can only be administered by some kind of monopolistic authority, whether you like it or not. And I resent your indefensible remark that my opinion has been polluted by anyone or any thing; I may not be the brightest light on the Xmas tree, but I'm far from stupid and certainly not gullible. Plus which, my practical experience of most of these issues we're discussing, and knowledge - not opinion - of them vastly exceeds your own, and that of most internet 'experts'.
As for taxis driving in shoddy mechanical condition? Really? Being subject to thorough twice-annual inspections by a Government Certified Mechanic (the type of inspection you apparently think should be imposed on everyone) I don't believe this is true, and I would be surprised if you can provide any concrete evidence of it.
And while Class 1 haulers still make mistakes, from dropping their loads to the much more serious failure to maintain brake adjustment, these incidents have also been vastly reduced, and that's down to education, regulation, and enforcement.
I'm going to have to leave that one alone, for now. Rational Authoritarians usually have some deeply hidden agenda that has more to do with the imposition of power than public safety. Libertarians are at the other end of the scale. Call me a Liberal/Democrat if you like; I believe in personal choice and freedom so long as one's actions don't affect others, but governmental authority (what you would term monopoly) in how we may infringe upon or affect others.
And as much as one might be excited about crowd-sourcing and other methods of creating and developing modern business concepts, I also believe in fundamental democracy, and that if the public have put structures in place, using their elected government to do this, then companies such as Uber are not necessarily entitled to execute an end run around the regulations that society has created for their own protection.
Yeah, I should shut up, but I do want to add something more: I own a passenger transportation vehicle, as well as a cell phone. I carry far more than the minimum insurance and licensing necessary. I have years of experience as a taxi driver from my younger days in the trade here and in other cities - I could jump in as an Uber driver in no time, and be making more money out of it than most, given my credentials and experience.
I just don't think it's the right thing to do.
As a person who worked
As a person who worked directly with every taxi company in the GVRD for almost 7yrs, I support UBER.
There is a lot of things the general public isnt aware of that goes on " behind closed doors" in the passenger transit community, im not talking about the PTB, im talking about the companies that the PTB "governs".
Taxi drivers are not careful, they do not care about their cars, approx 70% of the drivers out there are for hire and do not own the vehicle they operate so they aren't concerned about the well being of the vehicle or passengers. There were laws implemented(in 2007) for passengers,because of this,called the passenger bill of rights required for every taxi in BC. Many drivers to this say violate these rules.
What many people might also not know is that taxi drivers pay a premium for airport trips because YVR has their hand in the pot too and wants their cut for every hailed taxi that lines up at YVR, not drop's off.
I could go on and on and on about all the things ive seen over the years. To put it in lamens terms:
If you see a taxi in vancouver, the owner of that car is very well compensated, they never have to suffer and there is a ton of tax fraud its not even funny.
The driver on the other hand, he has to pay out the *** to the owner.
How does UBER solve this or ammend some of these issues?
The driver is the owner, always. Who you see is the owner, not some guy who barely passed his class 4 and took an english lesson. The taxi industry in Vancouver is run by indo canadian's, don't like it, too bad!
Uber has a rating system, if you are unhappy with your trip Uber will actually email you back and resolve the situation, unlike the Taxi complaint number you see on every vancouver taxi's right rear door. Which really doesn't do anything, calling it is just wasted time.
Some might say, well there is no protection for the passengers/driver in an Uber. Unlike a taxi, you have to order an Uber, they have everything on file. Taxi drivers are hailed and anyone can approach them, Uber's blend into the shadows yet everything is tracked. Better to be out in the open and stabbed by joe schmoe that just robbed a bank ( happens more often than you think) or blend into the shadows in Uber's Black cars yet you aren't anonymous and neither is the driver.
I don't want to go off on a rant...but the taxi industry in Vancouver is worse than you think. There are a lot of laws in place that are completely rediculous and some that aren't.
Look at car2go, Vancouver has the largest fleet of car2go vehicles in the world and it's still cheaper and faster to walk to a car2go than call a taxi...tells you a little something about care share/uber vs taxi's doesn't it...
We agree on most items, save the misunderstandings and semantics:
When I said licensing - I mean drivers not imports - actual skill testing and emergency manoeuvrings should be part of the driver exam. A monkey can be trained to learn the exam route and do everything perfect on the "muscle memory" aspect only - but without the "brains" it won't be a good driver outside of that route. What I think is happening is that lots of new drivers get their licenses before the fundamental skill set is acquired.
And these are the skills that prevent me from grabbing my phone, food or weiner when the situation is not appropriate for it.
I don't have the solid data on taxis being in good/bad mechanical condition, only subjective experience of seeing them from the outside and taking an occasional trip here and there. One thing I can tell you with high degree of certainly - every taxi trip I took in Vancouver recently - the driver was chatting non-stop on their bluetooth headset.
KyleJ contributes most to my "feelings" about Uber; and to relate Uber to your understanding of our current driving world: You say the regulation and the rules have been a collective effort of people gathering up and voting for their representatives who in turn made this collection of laws that we should support out of the respect to the democratic process. And because of it you preclude an emergence of a better "democratic process" which I think Kyle highlighted perfectly.
People want Uber and they vote for it by using it. People don't want to end up dead or with soiled underwear - so they rate the drivers. Both driver and the passenger are logged and identified in the shadow of the Uber's servers - and it's never a bad thing to have an auditing trail.
And personally, I wouldn't be offering my services on Uber either - unless of course the need overpowers the do-not-want.
But if I were - I would be bumping my 3rd party liability to include $0.5M for each "brain" I'm planning to carry.
And let me clarify my position on the rules, laws and regulation - I support rules that make sense for the purpose, I support the education of these rules and I rely on these rules to anticipate the actions of other drivers. I drive fair and by the rules most of the time, and the rules that I most commonly infringe upon are the most typical rules that 85% of the drivers break. Beyond that, I turn religiously in to the correct lane, I always signal - even if it is not required, I almost never cross white lines (i.e. HOV), and I do full stops at stop signs more often than not.
Good post, well articulated and argued.
I don't think you and I are ever going to agree on the Uber issue, but I'm totally with you on the weiner thing.
With apologies to our site host for maybe taking this thread off topic, I would like to differ though on this:
Permit me to share some thoughts, observations, and like that.
Determining driver fitness, skill, ability, however you want to describe it, is something of a challenge, and not nearly so simple as you might think. There are a lot of criteria to be met in order to create an obective and effective Road Test, including trying to make it 'the same' for every applicant, anywhere in the province.
Let's consider what the Driver Examiner is trying to determine, within a relatively short (30~40 minutes) period of observing the Applicant's conduct behind the wheel; I'm thinking here of the Class 7 Road Test, to determine whether or not the Novice license should be issued; the first Driver License, often but not always acquired by someone in their teens.
To a D.E., the applicant already has a license. It's called a Learner License (the Class 7 'L'), and certain fundamental criteria had to be met to earn it, the most fundamental being reasonable general knowledge about driving. On average, 80% of applicants pass this Knowledge Test the first time. So if the 'L' Driver 'knows' about driving, and is able to do so (albeit within the restrictions imposed, the most important of which is the presence of a qualified mentor in the right front seat), then the determination being made is whether they have now advanced to the level of being able to operate the vehicle on the roads with the rest of us, driving solo.
At one time, not that many years ago, the design of the Road Test was pretty simple; about half of the results criteria on one part of the test sheet was based on Vehicle Control (Starts, Stops, Turns, Reversing, Parking, etc) and the other half was based on Traffic Skills (Intersections, Traffic Lights, Lane-Changing, Anticipation, etc). The D.E. would mark each error observed over the time/distance of the Road Test, and if this didn't exceed 45 Demerits (and there weren't any Violations or Dangerous Actions) then the Applicant had qualified, and they Passed. One of the key 'problems' with this Road Test design was that it was error-based, rather than skill-based, and another was that the D.E. could only mark demerits up to three times in any one category. So for instance, theoretically, you could have a driver who never used their turn signals but was otherwise 'perfect' in every respect who qualified with 3x10 = 30 demerits.
Things got overhauled around the turn of the century, thanks to good old ICBC! One thing that had become apparent over the years was that vehicle control was far easier - any monkey probably could 'drive' a car, in the physical sense - but that the judgment needed to operate in traffic wasn't necessarily being demonstrated. And the essential abilities/skills were not being demanded as a condition of qualifying for the license, the primary one being Observation Skills, but beyond that - fundamental ability in Steering (there are those who drive their vehicles, and those who herd their vehicles, as my old friend and excellent Driving Instructor Keith used to remark) as well as Communication, and so on.
Realizing that any monkey probably could be trained to parallel park, using a single vehicle parked at the side of the road as the basis, they also added the requirement that the driver be able to reverse into a 90-degree parking stall in a relatively full, busy parking lot; real-life stuff, at last!
And most importantly, they threw out the concept of there being one fixed Road Test route that the Applicant could easily 'learn' beforehand! No more monkey see, monkey do. Each License Office has probably half a dozen different routes for the various license classes, and if an applicant fails on a route they will almost certainly be presented with a different one on their next attempt. Oh yeah, one other thing - at one time, it was not uncommon to see a Driving School car with an Instructor and four of his/her students from the Lower Mainland all going up to Gibsons on the ferry, as their Road Tests had been booked in Sechelt (which at the time had, like, two traffic lights and not much else happening, so it was easy to 'pass' there); you're not allowed to pull that stunt, these days.
So 'actual skill testing' is in fact demanded now, more than ever, in order to qualify!
And as for 'emergency maneuvers', well that's almost impossible to measure, and has virtually nothing to do with successful collision-free driving, no matter what you might think. Never needing to apply race-driver type skills, being able to go for years without braking hard, maintaining vehicle space and driver visiblilty and thus always having time to react - that's what keeps a driver out of collisions, and safe.
Uber dinner chat causes massive row with journalists ...
... in this story I came across on the BBC today.
In the video clip, you'll see reference to 'The Knowledge'; if you're not familiar with this London Taxi requirement, you can learn about it here.