A door-to-door self driving service for people with disabilities would be welcomed by many in BC. The NDP left out stable funding for HanyDART in their last budget and have done nothing to support self driving fleet technology. Current taxi service is expensive and only accessible to those with benefits or private funding.
Driverless door-to-door service is not a future technology, people are currently paying to use self-driving taxis in Phoenix Arizona. In that community 600 self-driving minivans taxi people around the City in a pay per use program.
Cities such as Vancouver and Surrey are exploring driverless fleet options.
These cities have applied for $50 million in federal money to develop an Electric Autonomous Shuttle system. However, the current Provincial government continues to focus on ICBC revenues, doing little to develop a self-driving infrastructure.
With Waymo and Cruise successfully testing self driving taxi fleets, laws need to be created allowing driverless fleets. BC is behind in ride sharing, with the Provincial NDP delaying basic services such as Uber and Lyft. Many persons with disabilities would welcome access to community resources thru self-driving technology. Less care costs during transportation would mean more funds available for actual activities.
The NDP regulations for ride sharing focus on the human driver. The laws require a criminal-record check, a 30-cent per-trip fee and a $5,000 annual licence. Ride-hailing drivers are required to hold a Class 4 commercial licence. However, Highly Automated Vehicle systems, HAV systems, will eventually manage all driving functions. This should significantly reduce driver costs for the elderly and people on fixed incomes.
The ride-hailing legislative committee tasked with making recommendations for ride-hailing proposed that ride-hail drivers should be allowed to work with the more common Class 5 licence. There was no discussion of allowing self-driving or driverless taxi fleets. The NDP government is requiring a commercial licence, class 4 for all ride-hailing drivers.
Driverless taxi fleets will allow the blind and physically disabled independent access to door-to-door service. This not only improves the quality of life for citizens but also expands the BC labour market for healthcare services. Embracing self-driving taxi fleets will mean increasing demand for jobs that support quality if life.