Why Uber is Not in Vancouver: “Taxi Lobby Has Been Very Successful”

Gerrit De Vynck, reporting for Bloomberg, on why Uber is not in Vancouver, despite being ‘Silicon Valley North’:

The playbook lacked a chapter on British Columbia’s Passenger Transportation Board. The six-member panel sets fares and interprets provincial rules governing taxis, black cars and limousines. The board is staffed with appointees who are typically older and not necessarily conversant with the latest trends in technology, says David Gillen, director of the Centre for Transportation Studies at the University of British Columbia. In BC, limos and black cars must charge a minimum fare of $75, a rate set to keep them from competing with taxis. In the board’s view, Uber is a limo company breaking those rules, says board chair Don Zurowski, who lives in Prince George, a small city 500 miles north of Vancouver.

Gillen also said “The taxi lobby has been very successful,” noting how industry representatives frequently attend fundraisers for Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal party. The Vancouver Taxi Association claims Uber is unfair competition for cabbies, impacting lives due to the rising cost of living in the city.

Vancouver clamped down on Uber in late 2012, and according to the Vancouver Board of Trade–which recently urged the province to reconsider the service—has the lowest number of taxis per capita of any major Canadian city.

Back in May, cruise ship passengers waited up to 90 minutes for a taxi at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, with the line up spanning nearly 600 feet in length at one point, reported Vancity Buzz (now known as Daily Hive).

Earlier this year, the province appointed the minister responsible for Translink, Peter Fassbender, to consult on Uber coming to B.C., but so far nothing has materialized. Uber launched a petition at the time, urging citizens to write to municipal and provincial government on their behalf. The campaign currently has nearly 70,000 signatures, closing in on its goal of 75,000.

Click here to read the entire Bloomberg story—it definitely makes you wonder what exactly is holding back Uber in Vancouver, despite Alberta and Toronto working to embrace the service.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    I’m formerly from Vancouver & let me tell you it’s got absolutely nothing to do with “a successful lobby” but EVERYTHING to do with votes & the potential alienation of a certain block of voters.

  • tom

    Can you be formerly from somewhere? You are either from somewhere or you’re not.

  • Brenda

    Vancouver is not “Silicon Valley North”; it’s “No Fun City”. And it has a lot of voters who don’t like change. Waiting forty minutes for a taxi is normal, as is waiting twenty years for everyone to quit squabbling over a rapid transit line to the busiest bus route (go figure). I got tired of waiting and moved.

  • Quattro

    I just want to restate what’s already been said…
    Vancouver is not, and never has been, considered “Silicon Valley North”. That title has always belonged to the Kitchener-Waterloo region in southern Ontario (although Toronto would like to assume it should have it).

  • 1His_Nibs1

    I moved elsewhere. I don’t know why that’s so hard for you to grasp.

  • tom

    But you’re still from there, you just don’t live there anymore. I’m from central New Jersey, but I haven’t lived there since I was 18, and then I lived all but two years in the Phoenix, Arizona area until I was almost 35, so I’m from there too. I guess it’s just semantics.

  • Shameer Mulji

    “And it has a lot of voters who don’t like change.”

    They’re called hippies

  • Brenda

    No, they’re called NIMBYs. The hippies left for the Gulf Islands many years ago and would probably not have objected to UBER. The NIMBYs’ natural habitat was Point Grey, Kerrisdale and Dunbar, but with housing getting so expensive, you can now even find them east of Main.

  • Brenda


  • 1His_Nibs1

    Yeah, to me it is just semantics . I do see your point though.