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

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
No new Surrey school COVID-19 exposures reported overnight

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read