Shared Mobility Thoughts


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Uber Vancouver: How the BC Election May Change the City as we Know It

May 13, 2017

How important is getting from point A to B in determining the lifestyle value of a particular city? In rainy Vancouver, ride-hailing services that are revolutionizing the transportation experience around the world are currently unavailable, leaving traditional taxis, public transportation, or car sharing services.

Taxis: WHy Vancouver needs ride-hailing

Though Vancouver is a city that desperately needs a revamp when it comes to getting from A to B, it’s taken now 5 years to have the conversation of bringing Uber back come up in a serious manner.

During the most recent election, the B.C. Liberals turned ride-hailing into an election issue, promising that if they win at the polls then British Columbians will be able to hire an Uber driver by the end of the year. They promised that they will green light ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft and offer cash support and a relaxation of the rules to the existing taxi companies to try to prevent their business from being devastated by the competition.

While the B.C. Liberals have just won the election, it is a minority governement, the first in 60 years. The B.C. Liberals will have to work together with the Green Party and the NDP and while the Green is supportive of bringing ride-hailing to BC, the NDP is concerned about the impact on the taxi industry.

Politics aside, bringing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to Vancouver is an advantage most BC dwellers (particularly Vancouverites) are after. In a rainy city with a lack of taxis, getting around late at night or during periods of extremely bad weather can be difficult if not impossible. And those who are unable to utilize the cities’ public transit (such as West Enders) or car sharing programs like Evo and car2go, are often left with no other way but to walk.

UBER’S PAST IN VANCOUVER

Uber Vancouver made its first appearance in 2012, but after only a short time of operating, the app-based ride-hailing service was effectively shut down by the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) when they created a rule of a minimum $75/ride cost, regardless of the distance. This changed Uber from being an alternative to taxis for short-distance trips into a black service, luxury car shuttle, which didn’t work for most Vancouverites, and soon Uber left the city completely.

The future of uber in bc

Recently, during Ottawa’s federal budget meeting, it was announced that Uber drivers will have to charge GST on every trip. B.C. taxi officials are praising this decision, while Uber decried it as a “new tax on innovation.”

Since taxi drivers are already required to charge GST on trips in Vancouver and all of BC, we don’t expect that adding GST to ride-hailing trips will deter passengers from using the app-based services.

In the BC Liberals words: “We think we are striking a balance between what the vast majority of British Columbians want … all the while doing so in a very thoughtful manner where we take our time, respect the industry that’s been there for so many generations and get this right to protect the jobs that already exist.” 

THE BENEFITS OF UBER VANCOUVER

The benefits of bringing Uber and other ride-hailing services to Vancouver include:

  • Shorter Wait times: The average wait time for an Uber in San Francisco is 3 minutes. Most passengers of Vancouver Taxis say they wait more than 15 minutes for a taxi just to be dispatched.
  • Reliability: Ride-hailing services offer a greater guarantee that a car is on the way. You can track the car on your app so you know exactly how long you’ll be waiting. Taxis in Vancouver can refuse pickup during busy hours or leave before you have the chance to get down to ground level.
  • Efficiency: With their data streams, Uber can pre-position cars in neighborhoods where they can predict demand, which means fewer cars trolling for fares.
  • Convenience: Using the app is just more convenient, taking out the necessity of making a phone call and waiting on hold to have a taxi dispatched, or attempting to hail one on a rainy sidewalk.

Vancouver, we hope, is about to change dramatically with the addition of ride-hailing services. Do you have questions? Contact us here.

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