Uber’s rideshare service has arrived on Vancouver Island.
The app-based service launched in the Greater Victoria region on Tuesday after years of trying to break into the market.
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto was the first passenger to ride in an Uber in a ceremony.
Alto says, “Uber will add important choices to Victoria’s urban transportation system in terms of convenience, safety, and reliability.”
They received approval from the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) last month. They had been previously denied entry in 2021 to alleviate pressure against the existing taxi industry, which had already been hurt by the pandemic.
This time, Uber got its foot in the door through a transfer of a licence originally given to ReRyde Technologies Inc. which has a similar business model.
The application was formally opposed by 32 existing taxi businesses, and supported by seven organizations, none of which were industry competitors. The arguments against ranged from a lack of cap on Uber’s fleet of vehicles to criticism of getting into the market through a licence transfer as opposed to its own application.
The company now operates its rideshare business in over 140 Canadian municipalities.
No word yet on any decisions from the company to expand up island – although their licence does allow them jurisdiction to originate trips across Vancouver Island. They will be required to give the board three months notice if they plan to expand beyond Victoria, at which time the board can reconsider amendments to their licence.