Uber is moving towards acquiring a license to operate in Victoria, Kelowna

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Uber is seeking a license transfer from another ride-sharing company to operate in Victoria, Kelowna by the holidays

Photo by Karley Sider.

Less than a year after being denied by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), Uber is again seeking a license that would allow it to operate in other areas of British Columbia, particularly on the island of Vancouver and Kelowna.

The Passenger Transportation Board is described on its website as “an independent tribunal panel established in British Columbia under the Passenger Transportation Act” and is primarily responsible for “making decisions on applications for vehicle permits intended for passengers (for example, taxis, limousines and shuttles). vans), intercity bus authorizations and transportation network service authorizations (e.g. carpooling).Uber has been operating in Canada for about 10 years, but only came to British Columbia when it started operating in Vancouver in 2020.

“The City of Victoria welcomes additional transportation options that help connect people and businesses to our community,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in a press release issued by Uber. “We have heard from local businesses, entrepreneurs and our hospitality industry that there is an immediate demand for these services.”

The ridesharing company failed to win a license in Victoria after the PTB rejected its application last year, citing concerns about the public’s need for the service and whether granting the license demand would negatively affect the economic conditions of existing taxi and ride-sharing businesses, given the already detrimental impact of COVID-19.

This time, Uber is heading for a new course.

The new application submitted by the global ride-sharing giant is different from last year’s application, in that it does not ask for an entirely new operating license. Instead, he hopes to purchase a business license from a business that is already operating in Kelowna and Victoria. The name of the company that Uber hopes to license has not yet been disclosed.

In order to obtain approval for a license transfer from the PTB, Uber need only demonstrate that it is “fit and fit” to operate and is “capable of providing the service offers”.

“Fortunately, the PTB has found Uber to be fit, suitable and capable twice now. And our track record remains strong,” Uber spokesperson Keerthana Rang said in the press release.

According to Uber’s statement, a similar view was also expressed by Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

“We are committed to providing a variety of transportation options for residents and visitors, with the aim of reducing both car dependency and the need for parking, while increasing mobility options,” he said. in his press release. “Uber’s arrival in Kelowna is long overdue and we encourage the PTB to finally approve this application.

Mohan Kang, president of the BC Taxi Association and a taxi driver on Vancouver Island for more than 25 years, says ‘there are no level playing fields’ when it comes to Uber’s efforts to expand throughout British Columbia by obtaining an existing license.

“The taxi industry opposes any unregulated business,” Kang said. “We’ve said openly that we have no problem with Uber coming to BC as long as they come with a level playing field, and that’s not [currently] the case.”

Kang says while business has picked up, the taxi industry is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 and remains in a precarious position.

“Our concern is that this is not fair. … If they’re going to use this system, and this system is going to allow them, I don’t know how the system would want us to respect it,” he added.

While no timeline has been specified as to when the PTB will assess Uber’s license transfer request, Uber says it hopes to begin operating in Victoria and Kelowna by the holiday season in December. .

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