One more step toward ride-hailing in B.C. (Black Press Media file)

First ride-hailing licence approved in B.C.

Tofino company approved to operate in Lower Mainland, Whistler and parts of Vancouver Island

B.C. has approved its first ride-hailing licence.

The Passenger Transportation Board said Monday it has approved an application from Green Coast Ventures, based in Tofino, to operate in Whistler and Tofino.

According to the board’s decision, Green Coast, which operates as Whistle Ride, wants to focus resort communities such as those two because of the “unique transportation needs” there, namely the seasonal influx of tourists.

The company argued taxi companies cannot “scale up” to serve a sudden flood of people in peak seasons, the decision said.

Municipalities, labour groups and about 30 taxi companies submitted material for consideration as well, mostly arguing that ride-hailing will lead to more gridlock, pollution, and traffic-related deaths, predatory pricing, and the possible destruction of the existing taxi industry.

“The [Vancouver Taxi Association] argues that the only difference between taxis and [ride-hailing] providers is that [ride-hailing] providers deliver their services through an app,” the decision said.

The panel chair, Catharine Read, disagreed, saying the ride-hailing business model is vastly different from that of the taxi industry. Street hails and taxi stands, the board added, will still only be available for taxi drivers.

Minimum rates will be based on the local area’s taxi flag rates, the decision said, and there will be no cap on the size of Green Coast’s fleet.

The board said in a news release the next step is for the company to secure proper insurance and work with municipalities on their licensing requirements.

Premier John Horgan had been promoting his election promise to bring in ride hailing by the end of the year, and critics had wondered if it’d make the deadline.

READ MORE: Drivers’ conditions, wheelchair access top concerns ahead of ride-hailing in B.C.

At the same time, the transportation board said it rejected an application from LTG Technologies, whose trade name is Lucky to Go, to operate in the Capital Regional District, the rest of Vancouver Island, and the category that encompasses the Okanagan, Kootenays, Boundary, Cariboo regions.

The Victoria company’s application lacked proper documentation, its leaders lack experience, and its business plan “does not reveal an understanding” of the passenger transportation business, the decision said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thieves break through wall to steal tools from home under construction

Drywalling tools taken from house on Bonnie Drive in Nanaimo last week

Donald Trump says Canadians on two stranded cruise ships will be heading home

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that there are 97 Canadian passengers on the Zaandam

Nanaimo air compressor business helps manufacture parts for COVID-19 fight

VMAC has crafted parts now being tested in prototype ventilator created at University of Minnesota

‘Stay strong’ graffiti message offers encouragement in downtown Nanaimo

Boarded-up Modern Café regains some of its colour during COVID-19 pandemic

Couple celebrates anniversary through a window at Nanaimo seniors’ home

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Most Read