We have Lyft-off.
The second largest ride-hailing company in the world will be applying to operate in Metro Vancouver, announcing Monday is hopeful to be on the road this fall.
But the announcement comes with Lyft admitting government constraints will prevent the company from immediately providing services in other jurisdictions in the province.
“Lyft’s vision is to offer its proven transportation network throughout B.C., but based on the number of Class 4 commercially licenced drivers required to provide a reliable service, Lyft intends to operate in the Lower Mainland to start,” reads a press release from the company.
Lyft currently operates in Toronto and Ottawa as well as across the United States.
The company has been leading the criticism against the provincial government’s decision to require ridesharing drivers to get a commercial Class 4 driver’s licence. Lyft currently does not operate in Alberta because of similar rules requiring commercial licences.
A Class 4 licence requires higher driving exams scores, additional tests and a doctor’s exam.
But the major concern with the Class 4 licence provision is there won’t be enough drivers to provide the service people are used to in other cities.
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According to the company, more than 90 per cent of Lyft’s drivers globally drive less than 20 hours a week.
Uber, the world’s largest ridesharing company, is expected to apply to operate in British Columbia but they haven’t announced a decision yet.
Kater, a Vancouver-based company, is also planning on applying to operate ridesharing vehicles.
The province established rules to allow for these companies to operate after years of delays. The Passenger Transportation Board is still determining whether ridesharing vehicles will have to operate under geographical boundaries, what the minimum and maximum price can be and how many licences each company can have.
The board will also be reviewing companies’ applications. Aside from the unknown regulations, the expectation is Lyft, Kater and, if they apply, Uber will all be given the chance to operate in Metro Vancouver.
It is still unclear whether companies will decide to operate outside of Metro Vancouver.
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“I am thrilled to soon launch Lyft’s world-class ridesharing service in Vancouver, as part of our effort to positively contribute to B.C. communities and bring spontaneous and reliable transportation to the region,” Lyft B.C.’s new general manager Peter Lukomskyj said.
“We appreciate the hard work the B.C. NDP government has done to allow ridesharing in the province, and also want to recognize and thank the B.C. Greens and B.C. Liberals for their continued commitment and support.”
Lukomskyj’s new role with Lyft was also announced on Monday. Previously Lyft Canada’s Aaron Zifkin had been working closest with the B.C. government around the new rules.
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