An Uber-Lyft driver drives off after picking up a passenger along Mission Street on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Ride-hailing rush sees one-third spike in new Class 4 drivers licences awarded

Even bigger jump expected for new Class 4 licences awarded this year

The number of Class 4 drivers licences awarded in B.C. spiked one third since B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board ruled the commercial licence necessary for ride-hailing in August.

Keep in mind most of those drivers were already in possession of their Class 4 learner’s permit and the statistics show that ICBC is due for an even greater jump in Class 4 commercial licences awarded in early 2020.

The indicator is based on a 73.7 per cent spike in knowledge tests passed, which is a key step in getting a Class 4 learner’s licence. In short, 935 more people passed the knowledge test as part of the learner’s application between July and December than did 2018.

READ MORE: B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

In August alone, the month the rules were announced, the Class 4 knowledge test has 546 successful completions compared to 374 in August of 2018.

Top line shows Class 4 commercial drivers licenses awarded in 2018 and 2019. Bottom line shows how many people passed the Class 4 knowledge tests, part of the test to get a Class 4 learners license. (ICBC Stats)

In total, 2,213 people passed the knowledge test from May 1 to Dec. 31 in 2019 compared to 1,274 in the same period of 2018.

Most speculate the anomaly in numbers is due to the new ride-hailing rules.

It also looks as though many would-be ride-hailing drivers anticipated the Class 4 licence would be needed ahead

ICBC stats also show that number of Class 4 commercial licences obtained increased in 2019, up about 16 per cent for the three month period of June to August. Between May 1 and Dec. 31 of 2019 ICBC awarded 2,359 Class 4 licences, a 27 per cent spike over the 1,855 awarded in same period from 2018. The increase is up a third (34 per cent jump) since August.

READ ALSO: Ride-hailing company to launch in Victoria

Last week the Passenger Transportation Board confirmed Uber and Lyft were awarded permits to operate in Metro Vancouver. Only ReRyde Technologies and Kater Technologies have applied to operate in the Capital Regional District (CRD) and so far have been rejected. ReRyde’s declined application also included Vancouver Island and the Okanagan-Kootenays-Cariboo while Kater applied for the Lower Mainland, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Okanagan-Kootenays-Cariboo and B.C. North Central & Other Regions.

The board said these are six of the first 29 applications.

However, more are expected, as companies such as U-Ride announced in the fall they are ready and waiting in smaller markets such as Victoria, Nanaimo, the Okanagan and the interior.

To achieve eligibility to operate a ride-hailing permitted vehicle the driver must be 19, obtain a full Class 4 driving permit and have two years of non-learner driving experience with fewer than four penalty point incidents in the most recent 24 months and without any outstanding fines and debts owed to ICBC.

Getting the Class 4 learner’s licence requires passing a knowledge test, vision test and disclosure of medical conditions or physical disabilities that could affect driving.

The knowledge test fee is $15, while it is $40 for the road test and $28 for the medical processing fee.

“We’re prepared and continue to monitor the demand for Class 4 testing,” ICBC spokesperson Lindsey Wilkins said. “If demand increases, we will increase the number of available Class 4 road test appointments to support the additional demand.”

Class 4 licences permit a maximum of 10 people in the car.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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