Surrey-Based Ridesharing Service Kater Struggling to Find Drivers Ahead of ‘Early 2019’ Launch

Kater, the upcoming Surrey-based ridesharing service, is struggling to find drivers ahead of its early 2019 launch, a new report explains.

Kater, a self-described ride-hailing app from Surrey, got a head start on both Uber and Lyft, two of the most popular ridesharing services used in almost every major North American city except Metro Vancouver.

The company said it has “successfully operated for three years as an app connecting users with personal drivers for their own vehicles” and now plans to bring ridesharing to the province.

Kater said the app, which “is launching in Vancouver early 2019,” allows users to request a ride from their smartphone and be matched with a driver within five minutes.

However, the service, which is supposed to launch at some point in early 2019 — months ahead of the official launch of ridesharing in B.C. later this fall — has yet to confirm a date in which service will begin, saying that it is continuing to develop the technology behind the app.

However, according to a new report from Global News, the company may be struggling to find drivers ahead of its launch.

Kater is apparently offering drivers big bonuses — up to $1,700 CAD — if they sign up with the service. According to the report, this massive incentive is part of the company’s way of dealing with the shortage of Class 4 licence holders, which is required to drive a taxi in B.C.

Liberal MLA Jas Johal, who sits on the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, believes that if the government does indeed require all drivers to hold a Class 4 licence, it will kill all competition for Kater.

“It is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig,” he said. “If [the government was] serious about testing ridehailing in this province it should be Uber and Lyft and anyone else who plans to enter the market, not just a company that is being advised by Moe Sihota, the former president of the NDP.”

“We need to allow companies like Uber and Lyft into the market to ensure that we have transportation choices not only with Metro Vancouver but in all of B.C.,” says Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman.

The provincial government, who said they’re still on track to introduce ridesharing this fall, defended the Class 4 licence requirement.

“When people use taxis or ridehailing services they need to know the driver has a clean record and their ride is safe,” a spokesperson with the Ministry of Transportation said.

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