Uber Launching in Victoria and Kelowna, Finally

Uber has received approval to expand its services to new regions, as announced by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) on Wednesday. The approval came in the form of a license transfer from ReRyde Technologies Inc., another ride-hailing company.

Uber was originally approved to operate only in the Lower Mainland and Whistler (Region 1), but can now extend its services to the Capital Regional District (Region 2), Vancouver Island, excluding CRD (Region 3), Okanagan-Kootenay-Boundary-Cariboo (Region 4), and North Central and Other Regions (Region 5).

However, before commencing operations in Regions 3 and 5, Uber is required to provide a three-month notice to the Board.

A license transfer, as defined by the Board, occurs when a passenger transportation license is passed from one legal entity to another. License holders must seek Board approval via an application for such transfers, considering whether the receiving entity is fit and capable of providing the service.

Uber’s expansion proposal stirred considerable public interest says the PTB, receiving over 40 submissions, including inputs from taxi companies and other licensed Transportation Network Service (TNS) operators.

The process for submissions on applications is open to anyone, with a $50 filing fee and submissions required in writing. The public is notified of pending applications through the Board’s Weekly Bulletin.

Previously, Uber’s request to operate in all regions of the province during the pandemic was declined, with the PTB claiming it would have added further woes to struggling taxi drivers at the time. With the recent decision, Uber is now approved to operate province-wide.

The next step for Uber involves obtaining a license from the Registrar of Passenger Transportation, ensuring safety requirements are met, obtaining a blanket insurance certificate for ride-hailing from ICBC, and working with local municipalities to ensure compliance with local by-laws.

“Victoria and Kelowna, you are one step closer to requesting a ride with the tap of a button,” said Uber in response to the news. Both of these cities will join Uber services currently available in the Lower Mainland and across 140 other municipalities in Canada.

Uber has experienced a strong demand for its services in these regions it says, with tens of thousands of local residents already signed up to ride, it says.

The company also encourages qualified drivers interested in flexible earning opportunities. To sweeten the deal, Uber is offering a special promotion for new drivers in Victoria and Kelowna. Those who complete 20 rideshare trips within 14 days of Uber’s launch in their city will be eligible for a $1,000 promotion.

“We plan to launch soon and will provide more information in the coming days. Thank you for your support,” concluded Uber.

Waiting for taxi cabs in the CRD is known to be a painstaking process. Taxis are either late, reject fares or just aren’t available at all. Uber is going to change all of this, soon. B.C. was one of the last provinces to get ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, as they didn’t debut until late 2019, as the decision was fought hard by a strong taxi lobby in the province.