Transport minister warned Uber prepared to begin Vancouver operations "immediately"
Transport Minister Todd Stone has been warned that Uber could “create significant regulatory challenges, compete directly with the regulated industry, and cause public safety concerns” in B.C.
According to files released through freedom of information legislation and posted online, the international ride-booking company headquartered in San Francisco has informed the province it will “launch immediately if any of their competitors, Lyft for example, were to start offering service in B.C.”
The document, marked “advice to minister” and “confidential issue note”, devotes specific attention to Uber X, the company’s classification for drivers who use their own vehicles.
It implies that Uber X faces extra regulatory hurdles in B.C. that the company does not have to contend with in other jurisdictions such as California.
Specifically, California requires cars offering rides to have a license, but the state does not regulate what rates a driver charges. In B.C., rates must be approved by the province’s Passenger Transportation Board. That additional stipulation will likely be a problem for Uber because its fees change based on demand—what the company calls “surge pricing”.
It’s noted that in B.C. any vehicle offering paid rides it is not licensed to provide can be subject to a fine of $1,150 and up to $5,000 for repeat offences.
The memo states that government officials have met with Chris Schaffer, Uber’s public policy lead for Canada, as well as representatives of the Vancouver Taxi Association, B.C. Taxi Association, and the Greater Victoria Taxi Association.
The document notes that Uber operated in Vancouver for a brief period during 2012, and that when the company was informed it was in violation of licensing conditions, it ceased offering services in the city, “creating an e-mail and social media frenzy”.
In November 2014, the Straight reported that Uber was aggressively advertising for would-be drivers on social networks such as Facebook. According to the issue note prepared for Stone, Uber was believed to have recruited "about 800" drivers according to information provided last September.
Jan 15, 2015 at 2:20pm
Why allow this criminal unethical enterprise enter and operate in the first place?
Ban them. From the get go.
Jan 15, 2015 at 2:43pm
ban them, why? Why is it they operate around the world but in Vancouver with moonbeam and his useless group are protecting the taxi companies who give them huge political donations, make things in Vancouver more expensive than they need to be, that is the issue.
Jan 15, 2015 at 2:54pm
Bring on Uber! Let's disrupt the taxi mafia.
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:02pm
It's disingenuous to make claims about things in Vancouver being more expensive than they need to be when Uber uses 'surge' pricing to exponentially jack up fares at the precise time people are looking for rides.
This isn't about gaining market share for Uber, it's about bullying. Compared to other cities where Uber operates, the taxi business in Vancouver is much better. Cabs are clean, quiet (most are hybrids) and taxi companies like Yellow Cab have their own apps to book a ride (which was Uber's initial selling point).
The only people in Vancouver for whom Uber has anything to offer are like-minded anti-government Libertarians or Uber shareholders. Some of us prefer to use a ride that we can hail by an app OR on the street, costs the same every time and is being driven by someone who can't be fired without cause in the middle of the trip.
Jan 15, 2015 at 7:09pm
Uber is trying to make meet the demands of our city something that our government has failed us on. Try to get a taxi in Gastown on a Friday night they ignore you. Sky train closes at 1 when bars are opened til 4! Taking the bus on 54 and main @ 10:00 at night. Not a bus in sight. You are screwed if u don't have a car in many ways still. Our transportation is really lacking at so many levels. We need to evolve with the changing views and the genuine needs of all people. It's shouldn't be all about business 4 the few and maintaining the status qou for taxi company, government. They don't care to meet the needs of people but just bleed people dry of more money. It's hurst us all when our government don't evolve because it protects a few.
Jan 15, 2015 at 7:42pm
Not true, that UBER is operating everywhere. UBER is getting kicked out of many countries around the world. Every other day their drivers are facing rape or other charges. UBER take no responsibility for any of those. Best they do is remove driver from platform. New Delhi, China, France, Spain, Korea, Germany and Thailand. Even Australia is cracking on UBERx.
Jan 15, 2015 at 8:21pm
Anyone with the argument of banning Uber is null and void because its the same rational of when cell phones first came out... Look people ride sharing is an inevitable truth. It's the future.
First off, safety.... Uber drivers are safer then taxi drivers, for many reasons. Why would an Uber driver attack someone, when their customer has their photo and name right on the customers phone. Last I checked when taking a cab all you see is a cab number ... which can be faked easily.
Secondly... no taxi companies don't have an app. They do everything they can do prevent you from a good experience. Why can't I order a taxi on my phone, choose my driver and see exactly where he is as he drives to pick me up? I could get ready, and have a drink and casually walk out as the Uber driver picks me up.... taxi's wont even give you a time estimate?
Lastly... surge pricing. Surge pricing works to get more Uber drivers on the road. Surges last usually about 15-30 mins.... so atleast in Vancouver you could get an Uber when it rains. That's currently impossible now with our cab system... not enough cabs when it rains.
Jan 15, 2015 at 9:41pm
I see the taxi drivers here to post their nonsense again.
@ursa minor take an economics course before you go spouting off your craziness.
One (of many) reasons Uber works BETTER than cabs is precisely BECAUSE of 'peak pricing'!
When demand for rides is up, Uber's pricing models slide the fares higher. This motivates drivers to jump off of their couches and hop in their cars to snag some premium fares.
With more cars on the streets, the supply goes up and the fare slides back down again. This ensures a nice supply/demand balance.
Instead of the current situation on a Friday night in Vancouver where you're waiting 2 hours for a cab (how is THAT 'safer'???), with peak pricing, you'd have swarms of Uber drivers out there helping people get home!
Incidentally, even when the fares are at peak price, it's still only SLIGHTLY more than what a regular cab fare would be!!!
BTW, this is one of the reasons why Uber drivers are so much more pleasant and happy than cab drivers -- they can make economic CHOICES!
Uber drivers aren't forced to work 12 hours shifts by greedy dispatchers who don't give a sh*t that the cabbie has been idle for the past hour.
An Uber driver who wasn't getting fares could turn off their clock, go home, and spend some quality time with their family.
Jan 15, 2015 at 11:15pm
simple we've one of the best taxi system and there is no appreciation from the public , because of having shortage on the Friday night, whitch could be fixable with adding extra temporary cabs . And don't forget at the meantime any of the clubs in the granvile or gas town that you point in has a huge lineup sometimes more than 2 hour an you all ok with that but when you are coming out from the bar at the high demand time you want your cab right away witch is not logic , and none of you like to pay extra surge charge witch is partial of uber business model ?!!
And at the end it's not a fair compation with the cab companies that have to follow all the regulations with is very costy like commercial insurance ( 950$ a month ) and commercial inspection ( every six months ) and not older than five years old vehicle, camera . And lot more about your safety and proper training and having profesional driver , then what else do you expect , think about it at least for a secound for something strange from the strangers .
Jan 15, 2015 at 11:52pm
Its not the drivers that are posting against ÜBER, it's taxi plate licence holders and family members. Why? For the sole reason to protect their plate licence via a monopoly.
Too bad, your days are numbered. Another ride share service is coming for people that have had some liquor and can't drive. What? You guys are going to protest against that?? Good luck with that.