Lyft announces that it will offer its ride-hailing service in Vancouver this year

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      A B.C. government fiat requiring Class 4 licences for ride-hailing drivers hasn't dissuaded a big industry player from launching in Vancouver.

      Today, Lyft announced that it's hired a B.C. general manager, Peter Lukomskyj, and will begin offering service this year.

      The publicly traded company was founded in San Francisco in 2012 and people can already use its app in Toronto and Ottawa.

      "We appreciate the hard work the B.C. NDP government has done to allow ridesharing in the province, and also want to recognize and than the B.C. Greens and B.C. Liberals for their continued commitment and support," Lukomskyj said in a news release.

      It promises to operate in communities in the Lower Mainland "where it can on-board enough drivers".

      "While the Passenger Transportation Board has yet to unveil its final regulations, Lyft is confident the board's decision making process will enable the company to begin operations in the fall," the news release states.

      In June, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena reconfirmed that the provincial government will require drivers of ride-hailing companies to have a Class 4 driver's licence and to undergo criminal-records and driver-records checks.

      At the time, the managing director of Lyft Canada, Aaron Zifkin, said that his company doesn't operate in any jurisdiction where operators are required to change their driver's licence to a commercial driver's licence.

      Meanwhile, ICBC is in the process of creating a new insurance product for people who drive for ride-hailing companies.

      According to the B.C. government's statement in June, the price will be linked to kilometres driven and it will include compulsory third-party liability and accident benefits.

      Annual licence fees for ride-hailing companies will be $5,000.