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'We benefit from going last': TransLink CEO commends cautious approach to ride-hailing

Last Updated Nov 9, 2019 at 3:57 pm PDT

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond (Jill Drews, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Kevin Desmond, who came to Vancouver from Seattle in 2016, says B.C. can learn from mistakes made elsewhere

Desmond is optimistic that the transit system is strong, but admits he can't predict the impact of ride-hailing

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. benefits from being one of the last jurisdictions to approve ride-hailing because the province has been able to learn from mistakes made by others, says the CEO of TransLink.

Kevin Desmond, who came to Vancouver from Seattle in 2016, says he remembers what happened stateside when Uber and Lyft first showed up.

“It came really fast and really big. Sure it probably reduced some of the potential ridership growth in the transit system, but the reality is the transit system is continuing to attract and retain new riders in the Seattle area.”

He says he believes the province’s approach to introducing ride-hailing is sound.

“The regulatory framework the province has put in place is a wise framework. We benefit from going last because we are able to see what happened in other cities where it started without any kind of regulatory environment. It’s kind of a wild west atmosphere. You know, I don’t want to say optimistic or even cautiously optimistic. I think we’re wary.”

He’s optimistic that Metro Vancouver’s transit system is strong, but admits he can’t predict what people will do when an alternative is introduced.

“Will it have an impact? We expect it will at some level, but we also think we have a very good transit system here that provides a lot of utility for people –whether it’s SkyTrain, the bus, West Coast Express, SeaBus. I mean it’s exciting times. We’ll see. Ask me two years from now what the impact is.”