PTB director corrects “inaccuracies” in report on bid to allow suburban taxis into Vancouver market

Jan Broocke,  director of the Passenger Transportation Board, says  there are a number of inaccuracies in my account, published here earlier this week, of the PTB’s review of a proposal to allow suburban taxi firms to send 15 percent of their fleets into the Vancouver market on Fridays, Saturdays and special event days.

The clarifications are helpful, but don’t change my view that the suburban firms’ application should not be processed until Vancouver has evaluated the current pilot program that added 65 temporary licences to Vancouver’s fleet. That won’t happen until early 2012.

For the record, here is Ms Broocke’s letter:

I have just read your blog entitled:  “Victoria hearing on bid to allow suburban cabs into Vancouver could trigger turmoil in city taxi industry”. http://www.geoffmeggs.ca/ I would like to clarify some comments in the blog with respect to Board processes.  The blog contains inaccurate information.
At the end of this note, I outline Board processes in some detail.  However, I will start by clarifying that:
  • The Board only received the 16 “suburban” applications from the Passenger Transportation Branch, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on June 30, 2011.  These applications were published on July 27, 2011.
  • At the time of its March 16, 2011 decision on the Temporary Operating Permits for the Vancouver companies, the Board noted: The applications referred by Mr. McLachlan are currently with the Passenger Transportation Branch.  They have not been forwarded to the Board, so as yet, the Board is not seized with jurisdiction of these applications.
  • As the Board was not seized with jurisdiction in March, it could not put the applications “on hold”.
  • The Board gained jurisdiction over the 16 suburban applications on June 30, 2011.  At that time, the Board followed its normal processes with respect to publication.
  • The applications are still in the publication stage. They not been forwarded to a panel of the Board.
  • After receiving the file, a panel of the Board will follow its procedures and processes as set out in the Passenger Transportation Act and the Board’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
  • Ultimately, the panel will make a decision on the applications.  That decision will be based on the Board’s mandate as set out in the Passenger Transportation Act.
Finally, the Board’s decision on the TOPs did not put the 16 applications “on hold”, nor were they “revived” by Nathan Bauder, when he was chair.
I would be happy to provide any further clarification, if required.
Board Processes
The processes for submitting and receiving applications are established in the Passenger Transportation Act. According the Act, all applications pertaining to taxis must first be submitted to the Passenger Transportation Branch of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.  The Branch reviews the materials to confirm that they are complete.  If applications are not complete, the Branch seeks additional information from the applicants.
When an application package is complete, the Branch sends the applications to the Passenger Transportation Board, an independent tribunal.
The Passenger Transportation Act requires the Board to publish notice of applications and accept submissions.  The Board publishes summaries of applications in its “Weekly Bulletin”, which is published each Wednesday, except on holidays.  The Bulletin is posted on the Board’s web site at:  http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/ptb/bulletins.htm
The Board accepts submissions on applications upon payment of a fee and within specified timelines.  Board staff send submissions to applicants.  Applicants are usually given 10 days to send a reply to the Board.  Submissions and applicant replies are part of the application file that is reviewed by the Board.
Once the submission period is over, Board staff prepare a brief overview of the application file.
At this point, the application package is forwarded to a panel of the Board for review.

The board may do one or more of the following:
(a) convene and conduct a hearing on the application;
(b) conduct an investigation in respect of any matter related to the application, or direct the registrar to conduct an investigation in respect of any matter, related to the application, that the board may specify;
(c) review the application and make a determination based on the application and submissions.
The Board reviews all applications according to its mandate.  The board may approve an application if the board considers that
(a) there is a public need for the service the applicant proposes to provide under any special authorization,
(b) the applicant is a fit and proper person to provide that service and is capable of providing that service, and
(c) the application, if granted, would promote sound economic conditions in the passenger transportation business in British Columbia.
The Board may approve an application in whole or in part or refuse an application.  Decisions are published in the Weekly Bulletin.
Jan Broocke,
Director and Secretary,
Passenger Transportation Board