VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouverites are one step closer to being able to take an Uber or Lyft.
The City of Vancouver has announced both companies have been granted licenses to operate.
“We know that Vancouverites have been waiting a long time for ride-hailing services and we’re happy we were is a position to be able to license today to avoid any further delays,” says Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm.
She says Lyft has a fleet of over 400 vehicles ready to hit the road but doesn’t have similar numbers for Uber.
She explains that having a valid license in Vancouver doesn’t mean travel is limited by the city’s borders.
“They originated in Vancouver, they’re doing business within Vancouver under the purview of our licence,” she says, adding that means a car can be booked for trips to surrounding cities in Metro Vancouver.
.@CityofVancouver Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm confirms business licences have now been approved for @uber and @lyft on the same day they were granted access to #BC. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/415nfv8Hon
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) January 24, 2020
Holm says the impacts on the taxi industry and congestion in the city can now be assessed.
“Congestion is certainly something we will be keeping a close eye on to understand the impact of these additional vehicles in the city. Once the data’s available we’ll have a better idea of what the impact is and whether any adjustments are needed.”
Mayor Kennedy Stewart tweeted enthusiastically about the city’s quick progress on licensing.
— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) January 23, 2020
Meantime, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has been vocally opposed to ride-hailing, saying it will harm the taxi industry.
He cast the lone vote in opposition to a motion making it easier for ride-hailing providers like Lyft and Uber to operate in Metro Vancouver at the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation in December.
Premier John Horgan says Thursday’s approval from the Passenger Transportation Board means Uber and Lyft can’t be kept out of Surrey.
“Our legislation makes it pretty clear that they can’t,” Horgan says. “I respect Mr McCallum’s view on this but we can’t restrict activities in Surrey as opposed to Coquitlam, or Richmond. These companies will be able to operate in the Lower Mainland, they will be permitted by the Passenger Transportation Board and our legislation provides for that.”