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EDITORIAL – We might not get ride hailing by Christmas and it’s no big loss

(Image: kabu.ca)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IT’S ALMOST CERTAIN B.C. won’t get ride hailing before Christmas and I say, so what?

Premier John Horgan is under fire for missing yet another self-imposed deadline to get ride hailing on the road, and to listen to the BC Liberals and radio hotline whiners this is the greatest disaster since the Titanic.

I’ve never been able to get all worked up on the perceived need for ride hailing, ride sharing or whatever it’s called this week, and I still can’t. Maybe that’s a function of living in B.C.’s Interior but even here, politicians are lighting their hair on fire.

Down at the Coast, I can see ride hailing as a nice-to-have but hardly a necessity. Here at home in the colonies, it’s barely even that.

I very rarely have need for a taxi, even when visiting Vancouver, but it seems to me taxis are doing a good job in Kamloops. Keep in mind taxi companies have to meet rigorous standards and go through a detailed process to be allowed to operate.

They’re an essential part of the transportation system hereabouts, especially after hours. There are always stories about unfortunate experiences with taxis but this imagined desperate need for ride hailing arises more out of reaction to all the hype elsewhere than it does from real situations on the ground.

Ride hailing is tailor-made for major metropolitan centres where personal vehicles have become an inconvenient mode of commuting. In smaller cities like Kamloops, not so much.

I can just hear the trolls now — the Armchair Mayor is an idiot and a dinosaur and is obviously out of touch with modern reality. But if we all get ride hailing now, fine; if it’s later, that’s just fine, too.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7226 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – We might not get ride hailing by Christmas and it’s no big loss

  1. Not trying to troll here but you’re pretty out of touch. Even in the sleepy interior, there is a need for ride sharing or ride hailing. You may not be in a demographic that happens to be on Victoria St. at 2AM but many people are. You may not have been walking home and had to stop and help some poor twenty something at her wits end because she’s stuck in the rain all alone and unable to find any way home to Aberdeen. The bus doesn’t run at 2AM but I imagine that you take about as many buses as you do cabs and may not know that.

    “…but it seems to me taxis are doing a good job in Kamloops. Keep in mind taxi companies have to meet rigorous standards and go through a detailed process to be allowed to operate.”

    That’s just ignorance on your part. Taxis are not doing a good job in Kamloops. They are often difficult to get, the vehicles are filthy and run down and your driver is more often on the phone than paying attention to where they’re taking you. Regular Friday and Saturday night cab riders have the cell phone number for drivers. They call them and arrange pickup off of Victoria St. so they don’t have to fight for a cab during busy times. Casual users don’t have this privilege and are often the ones stuck downtown for hours on end. “rigorous standards”…right.

    Problems in metro areas like Vancouver are far worse but we have our own share of problems.

    I travel for work a lot and use Uber/Lyft everywhere I go. It is miles better than taking a taxi in every conceivable way. People against or indifferent to ride sharing have probably not used it much or ever. Honestly, those people should get the hell out of the way.

    If someone wants to make a few bucks safely transporting people, and someone wants to pay a few bucks to get home safely, why is the government standing in the way? The only reasonable explanation is cronyism.

  2. Ride hailing is mired in controversies everywhere it has been operational according to ample writings on the subject. So if it doesn’t get set up in any particular hurry is arguably no big loss.

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