Nanaimo — Tony Harris, BC Liberal candidate in the upcoming provincial by-election, issued the following statement on Nanaimo’s need for ride sharing sooner, not later:

“As all three candidates head into tonight’s debate hosted by the Forum for Millennial Leadership, it’s timely to be talking about an issue that’s important to millennials like myself.

The NDP government have brought forward ride sharing legislation that ensures we are at least two years away from having the service and with the many restrictions they’ve placed on the industry, it’s not even clear if ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft will even be willing to operate in our province. In fact, it’s sounding as if they will just say thanks, but no thanks.

This is not good enough for Nanaimo. We need actual ride sharing in Nanaimo with regulations that are focused on ensuring safety while also allowing for more choice and convenience in our transportation options. Ride sharing is an important element of affordable and convenient transportation service in any community and these types of services also offer another safe option for our seniors and our students.

While the benefits of ride sharing have been much discussed for areas like Vancouver and Victoria, Nanaimoites will recognize that our long, spread-out community is in need of more efficient and affordable ways to connect our neighbourhood and businesses.

The NDP appear to be pushing legislation that will lead to an either/or scenario for taxis or ride hailing. It doesn’t need to be that way. There’s a reason virtually all majors cities across North American have both taxis and ride sharing – because there is room for both. We can support our local taxi industry by removing restrictions on number of cars on B.C.’s roads so the market can determine demand and by eliminating arbitrary boundary restrictions that prevent drivers with the option of providing their services wherever and whenever a passenger needs a ride.

Finally, if one of the barriers to ride sharing as the NDP suggest is ICBC not being ready for it, then this is yet another reason why we need a complete overhaul of ICBC that looks at best practices across North America and implements approaches to our auto insurance programs that brings rates down for Nanaimo drivers.

It’s time to get on with ride sharing in Nanaimo now, not years from now. This is yet another reason why I’m running to be Nanaimo’s voice in Victoria.

This by-election on January 30 is a chance to finally get Nanaimo the attention it deserves. It’s a tremendous opportunity to put Nanaimo back on the map where it belongs and ensure we start getting our fair share of attention and investment.

I’m asking for Nanaimo’s support. Hire me and I’ll work my tail off for you.”

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Media Contact:

Matt Gordon

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