Lyft isn’t happy the B.C. government will require all ride hail drivers to get a Class 4 commercial licence. But the company has partnered with Valley Driving School to offer free lessons, in the hopes people with a standard Class 5 will consider getting the extra licence to drive for a ride-hailing company.

“The first thing is an hour-long information session to take the mystery away from how to get your Class 4 licence,“ said Joel Donnelly, the director of operations for Valley Driving School. “What does that mean, what does it look like? Because now people hear Class 4 licence and get in their own head, they get psyched out.”

“We're going to help prepare drivers for the knowledge test, and then after they compete the knowledge test we'll have a second wave where we prepare drivers for the road test,” said Peter Lukomskyj, Lyft’s general manager in B.C.

Unlike the Class 5, a Class 4 driver's test begins with a detailed pre-trip safety check. “You have 15 minutes to complete that in,” said Donnelly. “It’s checking fluids underneath the hood, your belts, making sure there are no visible leaks. You’ve got to make sure the seatbelts work, the doors open and close.”

The behind the wheel portion of the Class 4 test is similar to the Class 5, with small differences like requiring drivers to honk their horn when they back up. “The driving test is equivalent to a defense driving test, it’s one where you have to show you have very close knowledge of your vehicle,” said Lukomskyj.

As the government considers its application to operate in B.C., Lyft needs more drivers to sign up, and Lukomskyj hopes the free lessons will be a big incentive. “There are only so many class four drivers in B.C. What we really wanted to do is make it frictionless for anyone who's just got a regular drivers license to go through the process of getting the class four.”

The free lessons begin September 30th, and will be offered in Vancouver, Surrey and Langley. Interested would-be drivers can sign up online.