Uber announces plan to launch ridehailing in Victoria and Kelowna

Sep 9 2020, 3:59 pm

Uber has announced plans to launch its ridehailing services in BC’s second and third largest regions, after its successful launch in the Lower Mainland early this year.

The multinational ridehailing giant says it has submitted an application to the provincial Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to operate in Victoria and Kelowna, referred by the PTB as Region 2 Capital District and Region 4 Okanagan-Kootenays-Cariboo. The application review process with the PTB is expected to take three months.

“With the launch of Uber, ideally in time for the holiday season, we look forward to more safe, reliable, and affordable rides for Victoria and Kelowna residents,” said Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s Head of City Operations in Canada, in a statement.

In the meantime, until the PTB approves the application and Uber receives its various municipal business licenses in its new communities, the company is urging anyone interested in becoming a driver to register their interest on the smartphone app and fulfill the criteria.

The criteria for becoming a driver includes the legal ability to work in Canada, a criminal record check and fewer than four infractions on the driving record in the last three years, a vehicle less than 10 years old that passes a provincial inspection, and a Class 1, 2, or 4 driving license.

“Ridesharing provides another option for people to get around Victoria, and is a great fit for our reputation as a tech city,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Colin Basran, the Mayor of Kelowna, added: “Kelowna residents have been eager to get ridesharing services for a long time. Today’s announcement by Uber is a great step forward, and I look forward to the day this service launches in our city.”

Uber has indicated about 100,000 people have opened the Uber app in Victoria and Kelowna over the past year, potentially signalling the interest in using their ridehailing service.

The launch of this service in these jurisdictions could also offer flexible earning opportunities, especially those who may be experiencing reduced work hours or unemployment due to the ongoing economic and health crisis.

As a health safety measure, both drivers and passengers are required to wear a mask or face covering, and drivers are mandated to take a selfie to provide proof to the passenger that they are wearing a mask.

Beginning this month, passengers who have been reported for not wearing a mask will also be required to take a selfie in order to book future rides.

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