According to a report by BurnabyNow, the Vancouver Taxi Association has entered into an agreement with Kater Technologies Inc. to use its app for hailing 141 of its cabs, 20 of which will be operated by Burnaby-based Bonny’s Taxi. The move will effectively give the Surrey-based smartphone app a head start on Uber and Lyft in Vancouver.
The source notes that Kater vehicles will have different identification than the regular taxis and will only pick up passengers who pre-arrange a trip via the smartphone app. Kater’s website says it will charge a base fare of $3.20 plus 55 cents per minute, or $1.84 per kilometre. The one-year pilot project is expected to stat on Feb. 23.
The new service will have the opportunity to operate as a hybrid of taxi and ride-hailing before Uber and Lyft are allowed into the market:
On Monday, Burnaby city council directed staff to relax city bylaws to make way for Kater. The cars won’t be required to have an illuminated light, the word “taxi” or “cab” on the vehicle or a meter inside the vehicle.
The bylaws requiring regular inspections, a chauffeur’s permit for drivers and 24-hour service provided “to all persons” will remain.
While the provincial government has not given a firm date on when Uber and Lyft drivers will be able to hit the road, it expects to have the insurance products ready for ride-hailing by this coming fall.