Uber and Lyft finally make their way into Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, a coastal seaport city in western Canada, now has access to Uber and Lyft ridesharing services as of January 24th, 2020. Vancouver is considered one of the best cities in terms of planning, urbanization, and also has been voted to have North America’s best public transport system.

Ride-hailing has not been a popular method of travel for the people of Vancouver. The Skytrain rail network, passenger ferries, buses downtown, and bike-share programs leave little space for a city like Vancouver to welcome cab-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Uber did try to make its way into the city in 2012. However, British Columbia regulators set a foot down, saying that the province’s minimum fare for limousines is $75 per trip, irrespective of the distance. This conflicted with some of these services’ pricing systems.

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Ever since, Uber and Lyft weren’t really welcomed as a common transportation service, with people complaining that there were never enough cabs on time and issues with passenger safety, congestion of traffic and emissions.

B.C. authorities are now open to being the last of North America’s cities to accept Uber, with a hope of proper functioning, licensed drivers, safe data-sharing policies, and manageable traffic with a fee charged for curbside access.

Ride-hailing is gaining an audience because of the convenience it adds. In 2017, B.C. Premier John gave word that Uber and Lyft will be brought on board, and the word has been kept.

However, the companies have to face various safeguards before actual service, including the mandatory commercial driver’s license (that requires exams and a fee), ensuring safer conditions for passengers. The new regulations monitor data sharing from the company on information like time and location of rides and trip costs and waiting duration. The number of cars out on service at a particular time will also be monitored.

It doesn’t seem all sunny for the local cab companies that are on their toes to file a petition to the Supreme Court, keeping in mind the previous circumstances with Uber in Vancouver.

The Mayor of Surrey made an attempt to put an end to these services, claiming that no Uber and Lyft cabs would be permitted in his town, but this ban was quickly suppressed. Looks like the ride-hailing companies are here to stay this time.

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Source: CityLab

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