In Business in Vancouver, Peter Ladner asks what a lot of us have been pondering-“Why is it taking so long for the city and province to figure out how to bring transportation network companies like Uber onto our streets?”
Price Tags has been wondering too. So why don’t we have Uber? Peter Ladner responds directly and notes that taxi owner protectionism may be a factor. “As with all disruptive technologies, there will be winners and losers. Life is not fair: the 60 Vancouver cab licences currently for sale with no takers are never going to go up in value, no matter how long Minister of Sleeve Rolling and Foot Dragging Peter Fassbender takes to respond to the embarrassed millennials in the BC Liberal Party. Holding citizens hostage to a limited number of taxis in a vain effort to protect taxi owners’ equity is past the point of frustration. It borders on corruption. The Vancouver Taxi Association donated $53,000 to Vision Vancouver in the last election, and has recently shaken up the BC Liberals by demonstrating electoral muscle in the February 2016 Coquitlam by-election won by the NDP.”
As transit and transportation becomes more efficient through new technologies, concepts such as customized car-pooling will mean there is not going to be a need for all that infrastructure and new bridges. And there is good news for transit -“new research from the American Public Transportation Association shows that the more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars and spend less on transportation overall.”
Delaying a decision on Uber does not mitigate the fact that taxi owners and drivers will be impacted by mobility technology. It might not be Uber, but it will be a car share service that will displace taxi market share. As Peter Ladner surmises: “Somehow we’re going to have to learn to deal with this onslaught of new pain and opportunity, embracing its benefits in a fair but determined way”.