The ride hailing service Uber is coming to British Columbia, not yet to Greater Victoria (Black Press File)

Uber won’t offer rides on Vancouver Island — for now

Uber’s decision to apply for license in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere draws range of reactions

Uber won’t be coming to Vancouver Island, at least not any time soon.

The high-profile ride-hailing service announced today that it plans to apply for a license from the BC Passenger Transportation Board to operate in B.C. after the provincial government had said companies can begin applying for the licence on Sept. 3.

Applications will take about six to eight weeks to process.

RELATED: Uber to apply for ride-hailing licence in B.C., will operate in Lower Mainland

But both Uber and and Lyft, which announced it would join the ride-hailing market in B.C. earlier this summer, say they’ll operate only in the Lower Mainland for now.

In an email, an Uber spokesperson said its licence will cover Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Squamish and Lillooet, but “the specific communities where Uber would be available will not be finalized until closer to a launch date, based on the number of qualified driver-partners who sign up to use the app.”

This statement means Vancouver Island residents on either side of the Malahat won’t be able to use either ride hailing service for now.

Dan Dagg, chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said the region has shown a demand for ride hailing, which he described as a “transportation innovation” that appeals to people because of its convenience and cost.

“Greater Victoria has an excellent reputation as a tourist destination and hotbed for technology companies attracted by our quality of life,” he said. “Tourists and business people expect to be able to use ride-hailing services in the places they visit or operate, and we want our region to have modern transportation options.”

RELATED: B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Mohan Singh Kang, president of the BC Taxi Association representing the majority of some 40 taxi companies on Vancouver Island, was naturally less enthusiastic about the news of Uber coming to British Columbia.

“My answer is that I’m a taxi guy,” he said. “I have spent all my life in the taxi industry. My concern is always for the best interests of the taxi family.”

“(This) will be good for the taxi industry, because it gives them time to prepare for ride hailing companies whenever they start operating [here],” he said.

Kang eventually expects ride-hailing to come to Greater Victoria, and he is calling on the provincial government to further level the playing field between traditional tax companies subject to considerable regulations.

“How can you effectively compete?” he asked.

Dagg struck a similar note in defence of local businesses.

“We also need to make sure the rules for ride hailing won’t create unfair market conditions for new or existing businesses,” he said.

Ride-hailing services have long faced the criticism of compounding gridlock. They also stand accused of quietly absolving governments of investing more resources into faster, more efficient public transit options.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Expect rain in normal Vancouver Island intervals, but bigger buckets

Weather Network predicts a typical amount of rainy days this fall on Vancouver Island

Rain raises water levels in Cowichan Lake

Possibility that pumps could be shut down soon

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Pumps at Cowichan Lake shut down

Recent rain raised water levels enough to halt need for emergency feed to Cowichan River

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Man faces 11 charges after accidentally discharging bear spray around Victoria cops

Drugs, weapons found in wake of unintended downtown discharge

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read