Loading articles...

Kater seeks southern B.C. ride-hail licenses by winter, rest of B.C. by 2020

Last Updated Sep 9, 2019 at 2:29 pm PDT

(Source: Kater, Facebook)

Kater joins eight other companies, including Uber, who have applied for ride-hailing licenses since last month

Kater's application includes a promise of 250 wheelchair accessible cars

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Ride-hailing company Kater Technologies says it has officially applied for a license that would allow it to operate in every region of British Columbia.

A statement from the company says B.C. is one of the last areas of North America without ride-hailing and the province now has an opportunity to introduce the service in the “right way.”

Kater CEO Scott Larson tells NEWS 1130 the company hopes to launch operations across Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and the Okanagan by the winter. Uber and Lyft have also said they plan to be on the road by the end of the year – and Larson says drivers are jumping on Kater as an option.

“We’re already starting to get drivers from some of those other places sign up already, who have heard about us through the media or just through word-of-mouth, and so we’re getting inbound calls from stakeholders in each one of those regions as well as a few others, for sure,” Larson says.

The company is also planning to roll out operations in other B.C. regions over the next 12 months.

“We feel that if it’s a service that is in demand here in Vancouver, which it obviously is, then it’s a service that the rest of B.C. should have as well,” Larson says. “And so, to scale up is going to take a few months, of course, but the plan is by the middle of next summer or so, we’d be operating throughout the entire province.”

He says all of the company’s services should be in place by next summer.

“There’s things that we need to learn as we roll in, have the right partners and stakeholders lined up, from the mayor’s office to the business improvement associations to the better business boards,” he says. “[We will talk to] some of the larger companies in there and see if we can offer corporate-type services to some of them. Each one of these different markets are going to have their own things that we have to deal with.”

Kater is also proposing a system of pricing that would slide from a minimum of 90 per cent of current taxi rates to a maximum of 200 per cent, a range it says addresses consumer concerns about prices rising when demand is higher.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said last week that eight ride-hailing companies, including Uber, had filed licence applications with the Passenger Transportation Branch of her ministry.

A coalition of nine Vancouver taxi companies has asked the B.C. Supreme Court to quash policies it says were illegally created for ride-hailing, arguing binding guidelines for ride-hailing services should not have been set before individual applications were heard.

Larson says thousands of people have already expressed interest in driving for Kater.