Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was in Vancouver to speak at Launch Academy to a room full of entrepreneurs and fans of the ridesharing service on both his business skills and the merits of giving it the green light in the city.
The City of Vancouver and the B.C. Taxi Association have resisted allowing Uber to enter the city for a number of years, but Kalanick believes it has a place here.
“I’d say if you want to create jobs, if you don’t like traffic, if you don’t like drunk driving, if you don’t like pollution, then I think Uber is a good solution for Vancouver,” he said to a standing room-only crowd.
When asked if Uber is truly considering the regional needs of Vancouver before potentially entering the market, Kalanick said getting from point A to point B is a universal need, no matter where you are in the world.
“I like to say if we find martians on Mars, that they too will want to push a button and get a ride.”
Kalanick said when Uber first came to Vancouver several years ago, they looked at what was going on in the city, the restrictions, and determined what would be a good fit in terms of cars and pricing.
A recent poll of Canadians suggested the majority support the ride sharing service as long as it is regulated in a similar fashion to the taxi industry. Another 67% believe the taxi industry needs to step up their game in order to compete with Uber.
Edmonton recently became the first city in Canada to legalize the ride share service and sources tell Vancity Buzz that Uber wants the B.C. government to pass legislation to allow it here as early as this spring.