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)

VIDEO: 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.

New Westminster Mayor and council chair Jonathan Cote said staff from the region’s cities have been working on creating the licence’s framework.

“What I have heard about the work happening from all the municipalities is that the work is on the track,” he told Black Press Media.

Once the licence is approved by the council, each city included will have to vote on if it will take part.

In the meantime, ride-hailing services could launch in cities that have adopted patchwork policies, Cote said.

Class 4 licence requirement could cause delays to on-boarding drivers, warns Uber

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.

LyfttaxiUber

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

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read