North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon (Hansard TV)

B.C. MLA should step down from ride hailing committee, opposition says

Ravi Kahlon says his father’s taxi licence in Victoria isn’t a conflict

North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon is refusing calls from the B.C. Liberal opposition to step down from the B.C. legislature committee dealing with ride hailing services, because Kahlon’s father owns a taxi in Victoria.

Kahlon confirmed Wednesday that his father, Navroop Singh Kahlon, is a long-time taxi operator with Bluebird Cabs in Victoria. Taxi licences outside Metro Vancouver do not have the six-figure values that have emerged in recent years with the scarcity created by B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Branch, and members of the committee don’t have the final say in what happens, the North Delta MLA said, adding that his father is semi-retired from the taxi business.

B.C. Liberal MLAs Jas Johal and Peter Milobar said the relationship, which other committee members didn’t know about, is inappropriate as the committee develops recommendations on how the taxis will fit in to the new regime of ride hailing. The relationship “doesn’t pass the smell test,” Johal said.

RELATED: B.C. adds hundreds of taxi licences, delays Uber and Lyft

The B.C. NDP government has indicated that the Passenger Transportation Board will determine the number of cars that can be licensed to drive for Uber, Lyft and similar ride-hailing services in each community when it begins to take applications later this year.

Johal argues that capping ride hailing services and imposing a requirement for drivers to get a Class 4 commercial driver’s licence is a recipe to ensure that “ride hailing fails.”

Opposition critics said the NDP government has stalled the adoption of ride hailing, already in place in every major city across North America except in B.C. They focused on the development of a smartphone-based app for B.C. taxi companies called Kater, which presented its plan to the MLA committee in January. Kater plans to launch this spring to get a jump on the competition.

RELATED: B.C. taxi app gets set to launch before ride-hailing

The B.C. NDP government delayed its election promise to enable competition for taxi companies, and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena then announced B.C. was adding another 500 taxi licences first.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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