A ride share car displays Lyft and Uber stickers on its front windshield in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2016. (Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Two mega-ridesharing companies have been approved to operate on Lower Mainland roadways.

Both Uber and Lyft have been given the green light to operate in Zone 1, which covers the Lower Mainland and Whistler region, the Passenger Transportation Board announced Thursday.

READ MORE: Transportation minister defends new steps in B.C. ride-hailing application

The board rejected applications made by two smaller companies: Kater Technologies, which intended to operate across the province, and ReRyde Technologies which sought to offer rides across the Vancouver Island and B.C.’s central interior.

”The decisions were made after a careful review of the extensive materials received during the application process which included supporting information provided by the applicants and submissions from interested members of the public and stakeholders,” the board said in a news release.

Since September the board has been reviewing 29 ride-hailing company applications. The only other company to be approved is Green Coast Ventures, which has plans to operate in the Lower Mainland, Whistler and Vancouver Island.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s first ride-hailing app to launch in Tofino, Whistler in February

In order to get vehicles on the streets, companies will need to obtain a local business licenses. The Insurance Corporation of B.C. confirmed Thursday afternoon that both companies have already been issued proper insurance.

Metro Vancouver mayors voted in December to fast-track a regional business licence, with an initial deadline of end of January. Black Press Media has reached out to the council for comment.

Prospective drivers will each have to also obtain a Class 4 licence – a contentious requirement set out by the B.C. government.

Uber spokesperson Michael van Hemmen said in an emailed statement that the company will be starting up its operations “very soon,” but warned that riders may experience longer than usual wait times as drivers on-board and that service may not be available in all Metro Vancouver communities at initial launch.

ALSO READ: Metro Vancouver mayors agree to fast-track a regional licence for ride-hailing

Lyft’s general manager, Pete Lukomskyj, said in a news release that the company is working closely to gain the proper business licensing to begin operating.

“Once those are approved, we plan to announce our initial operating area, give our inaugural ride, and launch our service,” he said. “We can’t wait to see the new ways in which Vancouverites explore their city once they have a Lyft ride at their fingertips.”

Twenty-one municipalities across the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast make up Zone 1.

Province to work with taxi companies in coming months

More than a dozen taxi companies made submissions in response to the initial ridesharing applications asking the committee to place caps on fleet sizes and ban “predatory pricing.”

But in its decisions, the transportation board said these aspects of ride-hailing are all par for the course.

“We live in a market economy and competition is the norm in marketplaces,” the decisions read, adding that while the board “is sympathetic to the prospect that taxi licence holders may experience a drop in their licence-share value, it has never sanctioned the market for such shares, nor does it have the authority to do so.”

Similar to taxis, the board decided that Lyft and Uber will have to start fares at a set minimum charge of $3.35 per ride but will be allowed to use “dynamic pricing,” which is when rates increase or decrease based on peak travel times or slow periods in order to incentivize ridership.

The mega-ridesharing companies won’t be allowed to use coupons or discounts that lower the total fare to below the minimum charge.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said during a news conference in Victoria that she plans to work with the taxi sector to address concerns in coming months. She also defended the delay for ride-hailing to become a reality in the province.

“I know people are frustrated. I know people want to get it immediately. I was as frustrated as everyone with the time it seemed to be taking,” she said. “But I think in the end, people in B.C. can feel very comfortable in the service that we’re getting.”

As for the other 26 applications, the transportation board said it is working towards issuing further decisions as expeditiously as possible but that the review process is taking time due to the large quantity of applications and the number of submissions.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LyftUber

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nimpkish sold as Northern Sea Wolf resumes central coast route

The sale of the Nimpkish was official as of Sept. 20, 2020

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Williams Lake First Nation inks historic cannabis deal with B.C. government

The agreement paves the way for WLFN to sell cannabis to the government, and open stores across B.C.

Cariboo’s Strongest tests athletes’ mettle

Twenty men and three women took part

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read