Uber is looking for Victoria drivers despite not having an operating license

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Uber Canada recruits drivers in the Greater Victoria area, although it does not have an operating license.

On Monday, Uber held a recruitment and information session for people interested in becoming a driver if the business expands to Victoria.

The ride-sharing company applied to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) for a license transfer from another ride-sharing company to operate in Victoria as well as Kelowna in August.

The PTB is an independent tribunal in British Columbia whose primary responsibility is to adjudicate applications for passenger vehicle permits in the province.

Last December, the Passenger Transit Commission rejected Uber’s application for expansion in Victoria, saying that even if the company is fit and able to operate, its planned expansion would hurt ride-sharing and ride-hailing businesses. existing taxis trying to recover from the pandemic.

Uber’s new app, however, is different in that it doesn’t ask for an entirely new rideshare license, but seeks to transfer an existing, unused license.

“One of the things we learned in our last application is that there are a lot of underutilized rideshare licenses in British Columbia,” said Keerthana Rang, spokesperson for Uber Canada. “The PTB was looking to see how to consolidate some of these licenses. So that was our path. We heard them, so we found another ridesharing company we could work with with this app. »

She said as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be slowing and tourism is returning, there is strong demand for Uber’s services in the area.

She added that the company plans to hire as many drivers as possible in the hope that they can start as soon as the business license is approved.

Mohan Kang, president of the BC Taxi Association, believes that these recruiting sessions put indirect pressure on the PTB to make a decision.

“They shouldn’t,” Kang said. “When they submitted their business and operating plan when they sent their application, everything was there and if they are already ready, then why organize these sessions to maintain indirect pressures.”

He added that if a license is approved for Uber, it will drive a large portion of taxi customers away. What he said is unfair.

According to Uber, the company operated in 140 municipalities across Canada, all with multiple ride-sharing, taxi and other transportation options sharing the same customer base.

“We find that there is a balance and people will choose based on what is best for them,” Rang said. “It’s just about providing one more option for residents of Victoria.”

There is currently no timeline on when the PTB will make a decision, but Uber hopes to have an answer before the holiday season.

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