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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Goose in Abbotsford rescued after legs wrapped up in fishing line

Wildlife centre operator says people need to be more careful

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read