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

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

RDCK closes all indoor recreational facilities until at least August 18

The district said closures are necessary to meet financial plan and to deliver safe programming

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read