May 19, 2020

On the road: Uber and Lyft arrive in Metro Vancouver

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On the road: Uber and Lyft arrive in Metro Vancouver

Two of the biggest names in the ridesharing sector - Uber and Lyft - have finally secured permits to operate on the streets of Metro Vancouver.

Securing provincial permits on 23 January 2020, the companies’ drivers can now apply for individual operating licences to operate within the Greater Vancouver area - the costs ranging from CA$25 to $500 each, depending on the vehicle. 

Commenting in an article with Vancouver Sun, Michael van Hemmen, Head of Western Canada operations for Uber, said, “We’re hoping to launch in multiple municipalities at once, but given some of the restrictions on Class 4 (driver’s licences), don’t expect that we will be able to cover all of Metro Vancouver on day one — but hopefully quickly thereafter.”

Difficulties entering the market

The decision by the province of British Columbia to require all ridesharing drivers to hold a current Class 4 licence, necessitating additional tests and training, has been controversial among ridesharing companies; some insist that it has prevented safe drivers from securing employment.


Total costs for obtaining the Class 4 are estimated to be $100: $15 for the theory test, $40 for the practical test, $28 for a medical check and a final $17 in admin fees. 

Despite this, 300 vehicles and drivers have already received all the required clearance to begin operating for Lyft. "We can't wait to see the new ways in which Vancouverites explore their city once they have a Lyft ride at their fingertips,” said Peter Lukomskyj, General Manager for the BC region.

A city ready for ridesharing

Although the regulatory aspect of the sector has posed many challenges for companies trying to get a toehold, the City of Vancouver assured the public that it was adequately prepared for ridesharing’s introduction.

“City staff are already working closely with ride-hailing companies to ready their business licence applications for quick processing, and aim to issue a municipal business licence within three days of receiving a complete application.”

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