Lyft formally announces plans to operate rideshare in Metro Vancouver

Aug 12 2019, 8:58 am

One of the world’s rideshare giants formally announced on Monday that it intends to launch their rideshare services in Metro Vancouver.

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Lyft will be applying for their licenses this September when BC’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) begins accepting applications, and the company has appointed local tech executive Peter Lukomskyj as its first general manager to lead operations and the hiring of drivers.

“I am thrilled to soon launch Lyft’s world-class ridesharing service in Vancouver, as part of our effort to positively contribute to BC communities and bring spontaneous and reliable transportation to the region,” said Lukomskyj in a statement.

“We appreciate the hard work the BC NDP government has done to allow ridesharing in the province, and also want to recognize and thank the BC Greens and BC Liberals for their continued commitment and support. We look forward to working with all levels of government in the region, including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Passenger Transportation Board, to be a part of the province’s transportation network and help create a frictionless experience for British Columbians.”

The company, like Uber, has been vocal against the provincial government’s mandated requirement of rideshare drivers meeting the Class 4 commercial license standard, and in today’s release Lyft affirmed that they will only operate in Metro Vancouver areas where it can “on-board enough drivers.”

With that said, although the PTB has yet to release their final regulations, Lyft said it is “confident” that it can begin serving its first passengers this fall.

Earlier this summer, Uber highlighted its obstacle of finding enough Class 4 drivers, expressing concerns that their rideshare services in BC may be limited to only the region.

“We need to conduct further analysis before we can determine the viability of operating outside Metro Vancouver under the BC government’s driver requirements,” Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s head of Western Canada operations and public affairs, told Daily Hive.

Ridesharing services, he furthered, “need a critical mass of eligible drivers in order to deliver the quality of service our customers expect. The Class 4 licence requirement makes that much more difficult.”

In an email to Daily Hive last week, an Uber spokesperson also added that the company needs to ensure it has enough drivers in each service market to ensure it can provide the same level of quality service that is also available across its global enterprise. In essence, it does not want an off-brand supply shortage that results in long waits, just like what is currently happening with the local taxi system.

Both Lyft and Uber are asking individuals interested in becoming a rideshare driver to begin the process of obtaining their Class 4 commercial license ahead of this fall’s launch of rideshare.

Within Canada, Lyft already operates in Toronto and Ottawa. It says its ridesharing app is also available to 95% of the US population.

With files from Eric Zimmer