Both global rideshare giants confirmed to Daily Hive that they have officially submitted their formal applications to launch rideshare in strategic markets of BC.
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The Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) began accepting rideshare service applications on Tuesday, and both Uber and Lyft submitted their applications on the same day.
At this time, Uber and Lyft are only planning to launch their services in Region 1 of the Transportation Network Service, which encompasses an area that includes Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and the Sea-to-Sky Corridor stretching as far north as Lillooet.
Rideshare operations are limited to Region 1 for the foreseeable future due to the expected hurdle of finding enough rideshare drivers with a Class 4 commercial license.
“We will continue to work with all levels of government to bring our world-class ridesharing service to the Lower Mainland before the end of the year, and to more regions throughout the province in the future,” said Peter Lukomskyj, general manager for Lyft in BC.
Michael van Hemmne, the head of Uber in Western Canada, says they anticipate the PTB will take six to eight weeks to evaluate applications. Uber is hoping to launch its service just in time for the start of the busy holiday season.
Another applicant is Alberta-based InOrbis, which offers rides that are more long-haul transportation between cities, such as to Whistler and the Fraser Valley.
It is unclear whether the application process and service launches could be affected by renewed concerns by Premier John Horgan and BC Transportation Minister Claire Trevana, who wrote letters this week to representatives of the taxi industry and the PTB, respectively, over concerns relating to a perceived unfair advantage for rideshare and the possibility of increased traffic congestion.
On Wednesday, the Vancouver Taxi Association also filed a petition to the Supreme Court of BC over the PTB’s regulations allowing no cap on rideshare vehicle fleet sizes and larger operating areas than taxis. The PTB has yet to respond to the petition; it is also unclear whether this could change the established policies that regulate rideshare.