When ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft ultimately come to B.C., they may put extra automobiles on the street and add to congestion, a provincial parliamentary committee was told Tuesday.
The committee of MLAs is holding public hearings because it prepares a regulatory framework for ridesharing corporations.
Sureet Gulati, an economics professor on the University of British Columbia, told the committee including rideshare corporations would decrease the price of journeys, use automobiles extra effectively and generate extra financial exercise — however there’s a draw back.
“You will see, obviously, more vehicle miles travelled,” Gulati stated. “In fact, (a) San Francisco study and some other studies have found that at least up to 50 per cent of those extra trips are new trips. They’re not trips that would have happened if these transportation network corporations weren’t around, if the prices weren’t lowered.”
More automobiles on the street means extra accidents and extra air pollution, Gulati stated, and a decline in transit use.
That involved Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End. Just over half of journeys in Vancouver are made by strolling, biking or transit.
“I don’t want to go backwards when we’ve been making forward movement to reduce the amount of single-car usership in downtown Vancouver,” he stated.
Michael van Hemmen, a spokesman for Uber Canada, stated the ridesharing firm sees itself as an answer to congestion, as a result of it reduces the necessity to personal a car and the corporate is engaged on getting riders to share the identical automotive.
Richard Campbell, government director of the B.C. Cycling Coalition, stated his group favours a tax levied on ridesharing corporations to offset their impression on congestion. The proceeds might go to transit and biking infrastructure, he advised.
Gulati stated the one means to deal with the issue is to put congestion pricing in place — tolling drivers to drive on sure roads or throughout busy occasions. TransLink is considering that concept.
“That’ll also help make ride-hailing more efficient,” Gulati stated.