VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Lyft is joining Uber in wasting no time with launching its service in Metro Vancouver.
The company started operating on Friday. The service, for the time being, will only be available in the core of the City of Vancouver, as well as provide service to Vancouver International Airport and the PNE.
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NEWS 1130's Monika Gul caught one of the first Lyft rides in Vancouver, since the ride hailing company, along with Uber, launched their services Friday. Her first ride was cancelled and the second took a while to arrive, as people across the city excitedly try to be among the first to try the new service. But once inside a vehicle, she says it was smooth sailing. #NEWS1130 #Lyft #Uber #ridehailing
“As we bring more and more drivers onto the platform and fine-tune our operations, we’ll expand our operating area, and over time, we aim to serve the entire region,” Peter Lukomskyj, general manager for Lyft in B.C., says.
British Columbians have been demanding ride-hailing services in the province for several years. After many delays at the provincial level, it was announced late last year the service would be available in B.C.
“We’ve been working collaboratively with the local community, our partners, the province, the Passenger Transportation Board, and municipalities to bring Lyft to the region, and the wait is over,” Lukomskyj adds.
Peter Lukomskyj, general manager for @lyft in BC, says they’re starting with service in limited area for now, but as it develops service, it will expand to text of region. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/qY5Tavjxv2
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) January 24, 2020
Lyft has launched aggressive advertising campaigns since last fall, which was one of many times the province said ride-hailing would be available in B.C. by. Since announcing its plans to begin operations in B.C., Lyft says it’s formed “strong partnerships” with stakeholders like Tourism Vancouver. It’s also the official ride=sharing partner for the Vancouver Canucks, Pride Society, Grouse Mountain, and the PNE.
According to the company, Lyft offers “upfront pricing and ETAs,” meaning you can see the exact price you’ll pay for your ride and about how long it might take you to get to your destination — “before you even make the request.”
Lyft trips will include a $5 minimum fare, and will cost you $0.65 per kilometre and $0.33 per minute.
The ride-hailing company has also announced its charitable plans, saying it’ll donate $5 from each of the first 10,000 rides in B.C. to its partner, Covenant House. Lyft will also allow riders to “round up” their fare to the nearest dollar, with the extra cash going to charity.
— Greg Harper (@GS_Harper) January 24, 2020
Both Lyft and Uber received approval from the Passenger Transportation Board on Thursday. Originally, Uber announced its drivers would hit the road at 11:00 a.m. Friday, but following an 8:00 a.m. Lyft news conference, both companies went live in the Metro Vancouver region.
“Riders across Metro Vancouver now have more affordable options to get to where they need to go, when they need to,” the Head of Western Canada for Uber, Michael van Hemmen, says.
Uber has been approved to serve the Lower Mainland, for the time being, but it’ll only be driving in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, and parts of Delta and Surrey. Until a regional licensing system has been set up, or until Uber receives licenses from other municipalities, only trips originating within the City of Vancouver’s limits are available for now. However, people can be dropped off in surrounding areas it’s operating in.
In a statement, Uber says it’s “committed to providing a safe ride option for riders, drivers and communities,” and it has been working with advocates in updating its app to build features to keep users safe.
“We know that every time a rider opens their Uber app, they are putting their trust in our technology – not just to be connected with a driver, but also for tools if emergencies arise. Our platform was built with safety in mind,” adds van Hemmen.
Last month, Uber released a jarring report which said there were more than 3,000 sexual assaults reported during U.S. Uber rides in 2018.
Meanwhile, MADD Canada says it’s pleased with the news that Uber will be allowed to operate in B.C.
“Uber in Metro Vancouver supports the critical need for safe, convenient and accessible transportation options to eliminate the dangers of impaired driving and make roads safer,” says Andrew Murie, CEO, MADD Canada
Ride-hailing drivers in B.C. are required to have a Class 4 license.