Uber announces plans to operate in Metro Vancouver by end of year

Uber

Uber Canada has announced its intentions to begin operating its ride-hailing services in Metro Vancouver by the end of 2019.

The company revealed, on Wednesday, that it plans to apply to the BC Passenger Transportation Board for authorization to operate in the downtown Vancouver core, according to Global News. This follows Lyft announcing, just over two weeks ago, its own intentions to begin operating in the city by the end of the year.

“There is currently no empirical data that demonstrates any safety benefit to requiring ridesharing drivers to hold a Class 4 license.”

The ride-hailing companies finally operating in Vancouver follows years of tension between Lyft, Uber, regulators, and taxi associations. In 2018, the provincial government introduced legislation that would allow ridesharing companies to expand into the province by as early as fall of this year. Tensions still remain, however, as both Uber and Lyft have expressed their concerns over the requirement that all drivers have a commercial Class 4 license.

“There is currently no empirical data that demonstrates any safety benefit to requiring ridesharing drivers to hold a Class 4 license compared to a Class 5 license with strict screening for safe driving history,” Uber said in a statement about its plans to launch in Vancouver.

Fatima Reyes, communications lead for Lyft in Canada told BetaKit recently that the Class 4 license test “is just not something that someone who’s driving for less than 10 hours in a regular sedan has to know.” She added that Lyft has been in talks with the Passenger Transportation Board, and is feeling good about those conversations and its plans to apply for licensing in September.

Uber plans to apply to operate in what is classified as Region 1, the Lower Mainland/Whistler area, which encompasses Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Squamish, and Lillooet.

The BC Ministry of Transportation set the date that ride-hailing companies can apply to enter the market for September 3, and it is anticipated that regulations around fares and the number of vehicles permitted for each ride-booking service will be released by the end of the summer. It is expected the applications will take about six to eight weeks to process.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.