Lyft and Uber officially launched in Vancouver this morning, basic info you should know

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      After years of slow progress when it came to getting ride-hailing in Metro Vancouver, city-dwellers finally saw some efficiency in the past 24 hours.

      A few hours after the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved Lyft and Uber’s applications to operate in Metro Vancouver on Thursday (January 23), the City of Vancouver stated it was also ready to issue licenses to the ride-hailing companies on the same day, which was earlier than expected.

      As of this morning (January 24), Vancouver now has Lyft and Uber on its roads.

      Lyft's general manager in B.C., Peter Lukomskyj, gave the inaugural Lyft ride in the city this morning.

      Lyft has partnered with Covenant House Vancouver (a shelter for Vancouver’s homeless and at-risk street youth), where app users can round-up to the nearest dollar and donate to the local charity.

      Lyft also announced today that it will donate $5 per ride for the first 10,000 Lyft rides taken in the region to Covenant House.

      Not all regions are being serviced in the province—Lyft will begin operating at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Pacific National Exhibition, and the City of Vancouver core with Dunbar Street, 41st Avenue, and Victoria Drive as its borders.

      Lyft's initial operating zone in B.C.
      Lyft/Google Maps

      Uber’s initial operating area is much larger than Lyft’s, and includes much of the Lower Mainland, including Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, and Surrey.

      In terms of how much rides will cost, customers can expect to find Lyft and Uber with similar pricing.

      Uber's initial operating zone in B.C.
      Uber/Google Maps

      The Straight opened the apps and compared how much it would cost for a trip from our Vancouver headquarters to YVR. For a ride in a regular four-person car to the local airline hub, Lyft estimated $24.41, with Uber slightly lower at $24.22.

      The ride-hailing apps have similar pricing.
      Uber/Lyft/Tammy Kwan

      YVR has also announced three pick-up areas for ride-hailing services:

      • International Arrivals, Level 2
      • Domestic Arrivals, Level 2
      • South Terminal

      There are no designated drop-off areas for ride-hailing services at YVR. Drivers can drop-off passengers within the permitted unloading areas on level 3.

      There are three new ride-app pick-up areas at YVR.

      For those who have used ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber in other parts of the world, don’t expect Vancouver’s services to be up to par—yet.

      Since the launch just happened, there aren’t enough cars and drivers hitting the roads to accommodate everyone who’s been eagerly waiting for a taxi-alternative.

      The PTB requires all ride-hail drivers must have a Class 4 license, so the process of hiring drivers may take longer.

      You may need to wait more than 15 minutes for a ride to arrive, unlike shorter wait times in larger cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Taipei, and Paris.

      But we’ll be patient and hope that the ride-hailing services in the city will catch up to its counterparts around the globe.

      Follow Tammy Kwan on Twitter @ch0c0tam and Instagram @ch0c0tam.