Uber Announces Vancouver Launch Coming This Fall, Still Critical of Class 4 Licenses

Uber has announced it plans to operate in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, and expects to begin operations by the end of the year, confirming it will apply to the province’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) for the right to operate in Vancouver.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to provide ridesharing services in Metro Vancouver,” said Uber’s head of Western Canada Michael van Hemmen, reports Global News.

“For years, British Columbians have been clear that they want access to the same safe, affordable, reliable service they’ve used all over the world. We’re optimistic that Uber will be here for the busy holiday season,” added van Hemmen.

“#Vancouver, we’re one step closer to a ridesharing reality. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands who’ve called out for safe and reliable rides in #BritishColumbia. See you soon!” said Uber Canada on Twitter.

As for service outside Metro Vancouver, Uber said “proposed regulations are not conducive to operations in smaller municipalities,” due to a shortage of drivers meeting license requirements set by the province.

Uber still opposes the Class 4 license requirement, which is a commercial license that requires higher driving exam scores, a doctor’s exam and more.

“There is currently no empirical data that demonstrates any safety benefit to requiring ridesharing drivers to hold a Class 4 licence compared to a Class 5 licence with strict screening for safe driving history,” said Uber.

“The unusual regulation to require a commercial licence, which only applies in two other jurisdictions in North America and requires B.C. drivers to write a test for driving a mini-bus which is not required anywhere, poses a significant barrier for drivers and will limit British Columbians’ access to safer rides,” added the ridesharing company.

The Vancouver Taxi Association says it is unhappy about the lack of level playing field with ridesharing in B.C.

“We knew ridesharing was coming, we went to meeting after meeting trying to make this work. We thought B.C. had the opportunity to do it right and set an example for provinces across Canada. But we were just dropped with it. Congestion is going to be so terrible especially in Vancouver,” said Vancouver Taxi Association president Carolyn Bauer, referring to the limitless cap on licenses and fleet size.

Uber rival, Lyft, announced its intent to launch in Vancouver earlier this month.

Are you looking forward to ridesharing in Vancouver?