A group of Indo-Canadians, many of them NDP insiders, want to monopolize the Ride-Sharing business with help from the taxi industry for an exclusive 6 month trial period in BC. According to a Province newspaper report, the Vancouver Taxi Association has struck a tentative agreement with wealthy Surrey Indo-Canadian businessman Monty Sikka to develop a ride-for-hire app called Kater, with 20 per cent of the profits remaining with taxi firms. The deal calls for the licensing of 200 “Kater Cabs,” which would operate like Uber cars. This is as a BAD proposal as they come because it is nothing more than an attempt to hijack the ride-sharing business with a little help from their government friends while British Columbians wait for a real solution which should be allowing ride sharing companies to come and compete for ride-hailing business here.
By PD Raj – Senior Writer DESIBUZZCanada
VANCOUVER – When is monopoly a good thing – NEVER!
But when your friends are in government – there is always the temptation to get that big game in gear for a possible big payout but one that usually results in much time wasted without any money for anyone.
That seems to be the case with a group of Indo-Canadians, many of them NDP insiders, who want to monopolize the Ride-Sharing business with help from the taxi industry for an exclusive 6 month trial period in BC with 20 percent kickbacks from profits to the Taxi industry.
This is as a BAD proposal as they come because it is nothing more than an attempt to hijack the ride-sharing business with a little help from their government friends while British Columbians wait for a real solution which should be allowing ride sharing companies to come and compete for ride-hailing business here.
On Thursday, NDP officials announced that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s report on Modernizing Taxi Regulations has made a number of recommendations, including increasing the existing taxi fleet by 15 per cent. It also suggests allowing cab drivers to lower prices during off-peak times.
NDP officials also announced that Ride-Sharing companies like Uber and Lyft won't be coming to BC till the end of 2019 when it was supposed to happen by the end of 2017. Something not right in that scenario and now we know why the delay cause the government is looking into this proposal by a Indo-Canadian-led company that includes many NDP insiders.
Following Thursday's announcement, The Province newspaper reported what has been circling as red hot news that some well known business members from the community were looking to get a slice of pie all for themselves for a short or longer term thanks to their friends in the NDP government.
BC is the last North American jurisdiction to not allow these popular ride-hailing services to operate here and certainly a monopoly proposed by NDP friends is certainly not the answer.
of the The taxi industry is making a last-minute pitch to keep Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing smartphone apps out of B.C., the last major jurisdiction in North America where the services are still illegal.
According to a Province newspaper report, the Vancouver Taxi Association has struck a tentative agreement with wealthy Surrey Indo-Canadian businessman Monty Sikka to develop a ride-for-hire app called Kater, with 20 per cent of the profits remaining with taxi firms.
The deal is outlined in a three-page “letter of intent” that was obtained exclusively by the Province. The deal calls for the licensing of 200 “Kater Cabs,” which would operate like Uber cars.
“The rates charged by Kater Cabs will be the same as the rates charged by the VTA taxis,” says the agreement, which you can read in full at theprovince.com. “Kater will pay 20 per cent of its profits to the VTA.”
Carolyn Bauer, head of the taxi association, confirmed to the Province the tentative deal and said the taxi industry is asking the government to approve the Kater app, while keeping Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps out of the province.
“Ride-sharing needs to come in and this is a made-in-B.C. solution,” she said, confirming former NDP cabinet minister Moe Sihota introduced the taxi association to Sikka, who would bankroll Kater’s startup operations under the terms of the deal.
“Moe Sihota has been our friend for many years and we’re hoping the government lets us at least try this as a six-month pilot project to show it can work,” she said, adding the introduction of Uber, Lyft and other competitors would destroy the taxi industry.
“Why wipe out an industry?” she said. “Let us prove this can be a success.”
But a coalition supporting Uber and Lyft reacted angrily to the idea of giving the taxi monopoly a new stranglehold on ride-hailing.
“It would be very concerning if any government was seriously considering a proposal for a taxi ride-sharing monopoly,” said Ian Tostenson, president of Ride-sharing Now for B.C. “Backroom deals between the taxi industry and a politically connected company won’t do anything for British Columbians demanding new transportation options.”
Sihota and Sikka are well known to each other when it comes to doing business – both are allegedly partners in the much hyped legal marijuana business with others close to federal Liberals and BC NDP joining to make big bucks in the soon to be legal weed business, including supporting the incumbent Surrey council slate for supposedly easy marijuana retail licenses in Surrey. I guess they want to profit from the legal drug business which is nothing more than promoting smoking and intoxication.
Back to the ride-sharing, last fall, government hired industry expert, Dan Hara of Hara Associates, to consult with industry and stakeholders. Hara was tasked with recommending ways to help people move around how they want and when they want, while maintaining accessibility and safety standards for British Columbians.
A report, released in February 2018 by an all-party legislative committee, identified the need to modernize the Passenger Transportation Act. These recommendations, along with Hara's report, will help government create a new regulatory framework and legislative changes that will pave the way for ridesharing to come to B.C.
The ministry will immediately begin working with the PTB to implement a number of the changes Hara has recommended. They include:
* Boosting the number of taxis to make it easier for people to get around, quickly.
* Hara suggests a 15% increase, which would translate to approximately 300 more cabs in the Lower Mainland, and 200 more cabs throughout the rest of the province.
* Giving the taxi industry the flexibility to discount fares when trips are booked through an app.
* Customers like the convenience and security of booking and paying with an app. The PTB will better enable companies to use this technology as part of their approach to fares.
* Equipping the PTB with better data to make smarter decisions on meeting transportation demand, including the number of accessible vehicles required.
Government's action plan on ridesharing includes:
* Retaining Hara to assist and advise government, and working with the PTB to further consult with industry, including major rideshare stakeholders.
* Implementing policy changes through the PTB.
* Working with the PTB on data collection and analysis.
Government is preparing legislation for the fall session. The focus of the fall legislation will be:
* Consumer safety, and enforcement.
* Streamlining licence applications for drivers.
* Supply and boundaries for taxis, and other passenger-directed vehicles (rideshares).
* Working with ICBC to enable a modern insurance product.