In an interview yesterday with the Vancouver Sun, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond weighed in on the eventual arrival of Uber and Lyft in Vancouver, saying that although many transit systems blame ride-hailing for their reduction in ridership, the arrival of ride-hailing companies will have little effect on the growth of transit ridership in the region.
During the interview, the head of Vancouver’s transit authority pointed out that transit ridership is up about 17% over the last three years in Metro, which “far outpaces anything that’s going on in the United States or Canada.” “And it’s by a long shot, it’s not even close,” he added.
“I’m a lot more bullish on what will happen when ride-hailing is here,” Desmond continued:
“Our heads are not in the sand. We are concerned that we could have an outcome, say, like Manhattan or London, where the explosion of ride-hailing has had, probably, a measurably negative impact on traffic,” he said.
It’s possible, Desmond said, for a city to have both an active ride-hailing industry and thriving transit system, and he believes Vancouver is well-positioned to do so. That’s partially because of the “excellent” transit system already in place, he said, and because of the “smart regulatory system” he expects the B.C. government to bring in for ride-hailing.
While other Canadian cities have enjoyed ride-hailing services for five years or more, they’re still unable to operate in B.C., although the provincial government has said to expect their arrival by the end of this year.