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Ridesharing is finally coming to B.C., with the applications from Lyft and Uber being approved for operation in Whistler and the lower mainland. This comes just over a month after the provincial Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved the first round of ride-hailing licenses. Both the approval of Lyft and Uber will be subject to them obtaining local business licenses and proper insurance from the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

The PTB also declined a demand from local taxi companies that a limit be set on the number of ride-hailing vehicles, and/or to forbid the companies from using variable pricing.

“The Board has determined that, at this point in time, it is not prepared to impose limits on fleet size because of the experiences of other jurisdictions with Uber’s operations,” stated the announcement by the PTB.

In late 2019, anticipating provincial approval, Lyft unveiled its pricing structure, forecasting service fares. With a base fare set at $2.50 and a service fee of $2.50, the total base cost to use Lyft in the Metro Vancouver area will begin at $5. From there, the service will use a model consisting of a cost-per-kilometer of 65 cents, or a cost-per-minute of 33 cents, depending on the length of your trip.

More details to come on Uber’s fee structure.

More options for getting home safe

Anyone who has tried to catch a cab on a busy Friday or Saturday night will be able to attest to how difficult and how long the wait can be. Sometimes the need to go home is immediate, and sometimes it is something folks want to plan for ahead. With the combination of both a legal liquor and cannabis industry for consumers to choose from, the need for additional options for safe travel home, due to the risk of impairment, has been a long time coming.

Well-tested already in many markets around the world, the addition of ride-sharing will simply open up better avenues for both tourists and residents of the province to feel more secure in going out, having fun, and getting home safe. Perhaps this will turn the dial further towards the lower mainland escaping its ‘No Fun City’ moniker.