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

uber vancouver

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 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 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.

Related Reading


No MaaS. No Multimodality.

Previously, movmi looked at transportation plans from 20 municipalities across Europe and North America and found how MaaS can be designed and tailored to suit the needs of small and big municipalities. In an effort to make access to alternative mobility modes as easy, are MaaS platforms able to strike a balance between mobility service providers (MSPs) and end users? While changing behaviour cannot be achieved without a truly user-centric seamless approach, are business interests of MSPs being considered enough?

In this article we explain how MaaS:

1. Creates a reliable, seamless multimodal user experience.

2. Improves visibility for MSPs in a sea of options available to users.

3. Ultimately increases alternatives for the users and create a rewarding ecosystem for existing and new MSPs to offer the best of their services towards a multimodal future.

Read More »
electric carsharing whitepaper

Electric Carsharing Whitepaper, 2021

The EV industry is maturing at a fast rate to improve vehicle and charging technology. Conservative and overly restrictive policies only prove to hinder innovation. Policies that easily adapt to and foster innovation can help bridge the operational gaps that can ultimately make the mass transition to EVs more feasible. In this whitepaper, we take a deep dive into electric carsharing: user experience, electric vehicles policies, operational feasibility and charging infrastructure. We also analyse EV policies from 9 different cities and scan the top carsharing favoring cities worldwide to understand what has helped and what other factors need to be considered in order to truly electrify carsharing.

Read More »

Partner Spotlight: Interview with João Félix, Founder and CEO of Mobiag

This month, movmi’s Venkatesh Gopal chats with João Félix, Founder and CEO at Mobiag – a shared mobility technology pioneer powering free-floating, round-trip and station-based car-sharing, car rental, and scooter-sharing businesses around the globe. Their tools – the latest hardware for numerous vehicle models, customizable mobile apps for iOS and Android, and open SAAS with dynamic third party integrations – are robust and flexible, empowering businesses to implement their innovative business and operational models.

Read More »

Financial Fridays: Bringing Carsharing to Properties

For the fifth session of our Financial Fridays series this year, movmi is joined by Thomas Martin, Director of Business Development at SWTCH, Judith Häberli, Co-Founder and CEO at Urban Connect AG and Galina Russell, Senior Vice President at REEF. In this webinar, the panel discusses bringing carshare (especially EVs) to your property.

Read More »
5 climate change success stories

5 Climate Change Success Stories

Change does not usually happen overnight, especially within the transportation sector. Our vision of a sustainable transportation eco-system, significantly reducing GHG emissions and effectively turning the tide on climate change, just isn’t progressing as fast as we would like and this can be disheartening.

However, we have seen climate change success stories over the last few years, that have given us hope and the encouragement to continue working to reduce GHG emissions and to fight climate change.

Read More »

E-Learning Course “Shared Mobility 101”  AVAILABLE NOW!