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Vancouver's Kater closes, expects to re-open for ride-hailing by New Year's

Last Updated Dec 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm PDT

(Source: Kater, Facebook)

If not for Christmas, industry insiders are holding out hope you might be able to hail an Uber or Lyft by NYE

Kater Technologies CEO Scott Larson is confident approval of traditional ride-hailing service is only a few weeks away

Kater temporarily shut down over the weekend to prepare for ride-hailing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As Vancouver-based ride provider Kater announced it would be temporarily shutting down over the weekend, the closure could be a sign ride-hailing is just around the corner in B.C., just in time for New Year’s Eve.

Scott Larson, the CEO of Kater Technologies, says they’ve temporarily closed their doors to switch over to a full-scale ride-hailing service, which they’re expecting to happen before Christmas.

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

He’s confident that, despite delays, approval of traditional ride-hailing service is only a few weeks away.

“Everybody at the Passenger Transportation Board has said it’s coming, it’s imminent, within the next few weeks, by the end of the year. We’re getting all kinds of different messages. What we do know is, it’s expected to be in the very near future,” he says.

“As soon as we get approval from the Passenger Transportation Board, they’re saying that the licences are going to be imminent. We expect to be operational within a week to ten days after that, perhaps even less.”

The company, which has ties to the Vancouver Taxi Association, has already been operating a fleet of 35 cars since the spring with users accessing a pre-booked app, but now it’s on hold.

RELATED: Union wants ride hailing drivers in B.C. to get minimum wage, benefits

“The model always was to transition towards ride-hailing. As we know it’s coming out in the next little bit, based on the messages we’re getting, we decided that our efforts were best put to use towards getting ready for that driver on-boarding, driver training, safety, there’s all kinds of technical issues that need to be put in place,” Larson says.

Up until now, Kater customers have been paying rates similar to standard cab fare.