Lyft and Uber finally approved to operate in Metro Vancouver

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      Vancouverites have been waiting for this day for a long time.

      The Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) has officially approved Lyft and Uber’s applications to operate in Metro Vancouver on Thursday (January 23), which means the ride-hailing services can almost hit the roads.

      Both companies will need to receive provincial and municipal licenses before they can launch in initial operating areas, which includes the Lower Mainland and Whistler.

      “We are thrilled to have received approval from the Passenger Transportation Board and are excited to bring Lyft’s ridesharing service to the region,” Peter Lukomskyj, general manager of B.C. Lyft, said in a press statement.

      “We’re working closely with municipalities to ensure we have our business licenses in place to begin operating. Once those are approved, we plan to announce our initial operating area, give our inaugural ride, and launch our service,” he added.

      Uber has been available in other North American cities since 2012.
      Austin Distel/Unsplash

      “The PTB’s approval is one of the final steps before Uber is able to start providing reliable, safe, affordable rides in Metro Vancouver,” Michael van Hemmen, head of Uber’s western division, said in a statement. “We hope to launch very soon, once we have obtained a business license from the City of Vancouver and purchased insurance from ICBC.”

      Vancouver’s Mayor Kennedy Stewart chimed in on the news through Twitter, and tweeted a message saying city staff can turn around business licenses in three days or less.

      A few hours later, Stewart tweeted that city staff will be ready to issue licenses to Lyft and Uber today, which means Vancouver could see ride-hailing cars on the roads even sooner than expected.

      Today’s PTB announcement comes a month after it approved the first ride-hailing company application, Green Coast Ventures.

      But not all applications received the go ahead—Vancouver’s own Kater Technologies Inc. and ReRyde Technologies Inc. were refused to operate in B.C.

      The decisions can be viewed on the PTB board weekly bulletin for January 23, 2020 online.