A Chinese language only ride hailing company called GoKabu.ca has been operating in our city for over a year. They claim to serve an average of 10,000 trips a month.
All while governments have been hand-wringing and talking about talking about ride hailing outfits like Uber and Lyft.
How has GoKabu gone unnoticed so far?
Obviously they're unregulated, and they aren't commercially licensed. Are they paying taxes and declaring income?
What other services are being offered in languages other than English? Short term rentals? Real estate contract assignments?
If we are to be a multinational, multicultural city then we need multinational, multicultural regulations and an even playing field for ALL the people who call Vancouver home.
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When I first raised the issue it was in the context of local business licensing, (City of Vancouver licenses taxis in addition to provincial regulation) - I was challenging the city to take a upgrade their responsiveness to new technologies and languages other than English. Unfortunately, because it was during a by-election and certain political opponents tried to sideline the issue.
Since that time, the number of illegal rideshares has exploded and expanded throughout the region. Of course, with the Provincial MLA rideshare committee currently taking place here in Vancouver interest in the story has been rekindled.
I’ve suggested to provincial counterparts and today on CKNW that under the BC Motor Vehicle Act Section 104.1 - peace officers can impound the vehicle of and unlicensed driver. Currently, operating a taxi or limo necessitates a class 4 commercial license. There are also laws and fines governing uninsured drivers: taxi/limo drivers are currently obliged to carry commercial liability insurance of $1m per passenger.
Because the MVA is a provincial law - you can (and should) write your MLA and ask them to crack down on illegal rideshares.
To me the language issue is less important that public safety, fair competition, tax compliance and how our existing local laws regulations are enforced. I believe that particular tack would be federal jurisdiction, though not sure that stands up under Charter’s freedom of expression and language clauses respectively.