VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The operators of a San Francisco-based ride hailing app, hoping to crack the Vancouver market this fall, admit expanding outside the Lower Mainland may take more time.
Lyft’s newly appointed general manager for B.C. Peter Lukomskyj says the goal is to be in the Greater Vancouver area before the busy holiday season.
“Our intention is to focus on Metro Vancouver. We’ve also had some great discussions with the municipalities of Chilliwack and Abbotsford,” he says. “We would love to bring Lyft to all areas of British Columbia.”
Until the Passenger Transportation Board finalize the amount of licences that will be approved, Lukomskyj can’t discuss numbers
“We’ve made some calculated assumptions as to what types of things the PTB will rule on. Lyft is a company that really wants to enter the sort of multi-modal transportation mix that we feel the province deserves,” he says. “We’ll obviously be watching very carefully to see what the PTB has to say.”
Lukomskyj says hiring enough qualified drivers could be a problem when Lyft comes to the province.
“We still firmly believe that the Class 4 licence is unnecessary. It is going to be challenging to get drivers,” he says. “There are only so many class 4 drivers with that licence today and a lot of them have jobs driving rigs and buses and other things like that.”
The Passenger Transportation Board regulates all driver-for-hire services and starts taking application Sept. 3, but some decisions could further delay the arrival of Lyft and Uber. Lukomskyj says it’s not clear when they can operate in Vancouver.
“At this point, we feel that the recommendations are ones that we’ll be able to work within. There could be some surprises in there, so I’m always hedging my bets on that one, but we’ll hopefully be able to operate within the guidelines that they provide.”
The Passenger Transportation Board still hasn’t finalized possible geographical restrictions or limits on how many licences will be approved, but all app-based drivers must have the same Class 4 licence as taxi drivers.
Lukomskyj admits forcing all contractors to have the same licence as cab drivers will be a challenge, but he’s confident other guidelines will be manageable.