Uber "optimistic" that they'll be running before Vancouver's holiday season

Aug 28 2019, 9:10 am

Uber, one of the largest rideshare companies in the world, has formally announced that they plan to launch their services in Vancouver.

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The company announced on Wednesday that they will be applying for their license to operate in September when BC’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) begins accepting applications.

“The PTB expects that applications will take approximately six to eight weeks to evaluate,” says a spokesperson in an emailed statement.

Uber says that if their application is approved, operations are expected to begin in late 2019.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to provide ridesharing services in Metro Vancouver,” says Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s Head of Western Canada. “We’re optimistic that Uber will be here for the busy holiday season.”

Where Uber will potentially operate

The company’s emailed statement explains that their application is for Region 1 — meaning that they’d only operate in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Squamish, and Lillooet.

Communities that Uber will be available in won’t be announced until closer to the date of their launch. Uber says that it will also be heavily based on the number of qualified drivers who sign up.

“Uber remains interested in service across BC, but the regulations are not conducive to operations in smaller municipalities

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,” said van Hemmen, earlier this summer to 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.”

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 rideshare launch.

With files from Kenneth Chan and Eric Zimmer.