There are 17 fully licensed ride-sharing companies currently operating around the Tri-Cities and Metro Vancouver.
And Coquitlam RCMP are encouraging local commuters to use them for the benefit of their own safety.
The detachment is issuing a warning today (March 1), citing concerns of utilizing illegal ride-hailing companies as they've become the subject of a provincial government investigation.
"The dangers of using an illegal ride-hailing company means that they don't have the provincial permits to operate and there is no guarantee the drivers are licensed," Coquitlam Mounties spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in a statement.
"With an unlicensed driver, the passengers could be uninsured, the car could be unsafe or the driver may not have completed a criminal record checks."
See list of approved ride-hailing services in the Tri-Cities below.
With the use of such services in the last few years, Passenger Transportation Enforcement (PTE) officers with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is cracking down on unlicensed operations.
On March 3 last year, Coquitlam RCMP issued more than $1,600 in fines to three drivers, and police in Burnaby did a similar check with 17 drivers and $28,000 in fines.
Among those penalized were drivers who hadn’t completed their background check, and someone who was prohibited from driving.
Only ride-hail operators with a Transportation Network Service licence are allowed to pick up passengers, Hodgins said, noting the services allow passengers to hire and pay for travel through a website or mobile app.
She added a ride-hailing driver must have a Class 4 license, proper insurance, a criminal record check and a vehicle inspection to meet B.C.'s requirements within the past year.
"This is to ensure that the driver and passenger's safety is maintained during the passenger transportation trip," Hodgins said.
"Police want to educate the public of these ride-hailing companies and provide some safety tips to ensure the customer's safety."
RCMP and PTE officers are also working to conduct Tri-Cities roadside enforcement targeting licensed and unlicensed ride-hailing companies.
Commuters are encouraged to never hail a ride-share vehicle from the street as it should always be booked through the company's website or app.
Other tips listed by Coquitlam RCMP for ride-share passenger safety include:
- Ensure the driver's picture on the app matches the driver who arrives
- Ensure the vehicle matches your booked vehicle
- Licence plate and record check certificate should be clearly displayed
- Ensure the company decal is prominently displayed in the front and rear windows before entering the vehicle
- Sign must be issued by the licensee, must clearly display the company name/logo and must be reflective (no paper copies)
- Never hail a ride-hailing vehicle from the street
Fines for unlicensed ride-hailing drivers include:
- $1,150 = Operating a commercial passenger vehicle without a permit, contrary to the section 57(1) of the BC Passenger Transportation Act
- $357 = Operating a commercial passenger vehicle without a certificate of inspection, contrary to section 25.07(1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations
- $276 = Operating a commercial passenger vehicle with the wrong class of driver’s license, contrary to section 24(1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act
Anyone with more information on unlicensed ride-hailing services is asked to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550, a B.C. PTE officer at 604-527-2198 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approved companies include:
- Apt Rides
- Bonny's Taxi
- Lucky to Go
- Metro Rides
- Ripe Rides
- Transroad Airport Shuttle
- Vancouver Taxi
- Vancouver Taxi Handicapped Cabs
- Yellow Cab