Requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers in BC

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

The government has announced legislation which paves the way for ride-hailing companies to operate on BC roads as early as September 16. Companies such as Uber and Lyft will be able to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to provide commercial ride-hailing in BC from September 3. The PTB will decide how many ride-hailing vehicles will be allowed to operate and what rates they can charge as well as other limitations.

But before people think about becoming a driver for Uber, Lyft or other such company, they need to be aware of some of the hurdles they may face along the way. The requirements may be a big dissuading factor for people looking to make some cash on the side by working as a driver part-time. For everyone else, here are the main requirements prospective drivers will have to fulfill.

Class 4 commercial licence

The biggest hurdle to most people will be the requirement to hold a Class 4 commercial licence. Although it was not recommended by the legislative committee tasked with making recommendations for ride hailing, the BC government has made it clear that a minimum Class 4 chauffeur’s licence will be needed.

A Class 1, for trucks, Class 2, for buses or Class 4, for taxis are sufficient to drive for Uber or Lyft, however, the latter is the easiest for most people to obtain.

Obtaining a Class 4 involves first getting a commercial learner’s licence. Drivers will have to pass a knowledge test which costs $15. To get the full licence, drivers have to complete a driver’s medical, which costs $28. They then must pass a commercial class road test and a pre-trip inspection which cost $40 when taken together.

Insurance

On top of a Class 4 licence, drivers working with ride-hailing companies will need to buy their own basic vehicle insurance policy. We have previously written in this blog about the potential insurance pitfalls of becoming a food delivery service driver for companies like UberEats and Foodora and how using a vehicle that is only covered for personal use while working for one of these organizations could void your insurance.

The BC government is promising that ICBC will have its new insurance policy ready for the launch of ride-hailing in September. It says: “It is a blanket, per kilometre insurance product providing compulsory, third-party liability and accident benefits. The blanket insurance product will apply when the driver is providing ride-hailing services, with the driver’s own basic vehicle insurance policy applying in all other instances.” So while Uber or Lyft drivers are working they are covered by this blanket insurance policy. When they’re not, they must have their own basic insurance. Makes sense.

Criminal Record Check

The Passenger Transportation Act will require drivers to undergo a criminal record check. If you know you will likely fail a criminal record check, don’t give up! You can appeal in writing to the Registrar of the Passenger Transportation Branch to review your criminal record check for eligibility.

To increase your chances of convincing the Passenger Transportation Branch about a criminal record check we recommend you hire a lawyer. At Acumen Law, we are experienced in building effective appeals for all kinds of people and we can help. Call us on 604-685-8889.

Driver Record Check

Any driver working for a ride-hailing service in BC will need to undergo driver record checks. Any driver who has more than four offences that come with points on their record in the last two years will be ineligible to drive for a ride-hailing company. Any serious offences within the last three years, such as driving-related Criminal Code convictions, are also unacceptable.

With this in mind, it’s probably time you clean up your driving record if you want to become an Uber or Lyft driver. Acumen Law Corporation is dedicated to fighting Motor Vehicle Act and driving-related Criminal Code convictions. If you successfully overturn a driving conviction it is removed from your record. Call us on 604-685-8889 and we will help.

Vehicles

All vehicles used for ride-hailing work must be less than 10-years-old, undergo daily pre-trip inspections and pass an annual vehicle inspection at a designated inspection facility if they were driven less than 40,000 km in the last year or semi-annually if they were driven more than 40,000 km.

Penalties

Drivers and companies found to be operating without the proper requirements will be subject to fines. Drivers can be fined up to $5,000 per day for operating without the appropriate licence. They will also be subject to “possible further sanctions” for operating without the correct insurance.

Thinking of becoming an Uber driver? We can help

If you are thinking of applying to become a driver for a company like Uber when commercial ride-hailing comes into effect in September, it’s a good idea to start preparing your application now. That means appealing to have any outstanding driving offences that incur points on your record from the past two years, or any vehicle-related Criminal Code­­ convictions in the last three years, overturned.

If you need help challenging a driving-related offence or assistance appealing a criminal record check with Registrar of the Passenger Transportation Branch, call us on 604-685-8889.

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