Vancouver now the largest city in North America without Uber

Oct 12 2016, 3:01 pm

Vancouver is now the largest city in North Americas without ridesharing, according to Uber.

During a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) event on Tuesday, Uber chief advisor David Plouff told the audience that by falling behind on ride share, the city and province are also falling behind on rideshare’s anticipated evolution into autonomous transportation.

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Ahead of the event, GVBOT released the results of a recent survey which found that 80% of its members – the local business community – wanted the province to introduce new regulations to enable ride sharing services.

“You’ve got old regulations… you’ve basically got to set that debate around how new tech fits into the old regulation,” said Plouff, who was a senior advisor for US President Obama’s administration from 2009 to 2013 before joining Uber in 2014.

“It still blows my mind that when I get off a plane in Vancouver, I can’t use Uber.”

Even though British Columbians are still unable to use rideshare schemes that hasn’t stopped them from signing up for services like Uber. Indeed Uber says it already has more than 200,000 registered users in the province, people who have signed up and used the service in other cities around the world.

BC lagging behind

Uber, the world’s largest rideshare service, already operates in 40 other cities across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary. In Quebec, Uber is operating under a government-sanctioned pilot project. In Seattle ridesharing is so entrenched that the city’s drivers are working towards unionization.

Earlier this year, the BC government signalled it was reevaluating its position on Uber, saying it was only a “matter of time” before rideshare services are introduced into the local market. Shortly after, it started consultations on rideshare with the public, industry groups, and stakeholders, and the results were recently shared with all stakeholders that provided input.

One of the largest and most vocal groups against regulation changes that permit ridesharing is, of course, the Vancouver Taxi Association, the group that represents the local taxi oligopoly held by four taxi companies – Black Top Checker Cabs, Maclures Cabs, Vancouver Taxi, and Yellow Cab.

In a radio interview with CKNW yesterday, Plouff said Vancouver is currently the largest city in North America without rideshare, and by next spring it could be one of the largest cities in the world without the service.

By the end of summer, Uber’s services were available in over 507 cities in 66 countries around the world.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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