VANCOUVER — The popular ride-sharing app Uber was driven out of Vancouver in 2012 by the provincial Transportation Board. The regulator requested the company apply for a limousine licence, which requires consumers to spend a minimum of $75 per trip. But now, there are rumours the ride share service that’s gaining popularity around the world may be making a Vancouver comeback.
The San Francisco-based company has been tweeting its intentions to return to the city of glass.
Uber has even advertised job postings for drivers and three administration positions.
The news is welcome to many residents, who have used the services around the world, to much satisfaction.
“It’s cheaper than a taxi and sometimes it’s not even more expensive than public transit,” says travel blogger Jeff Kwok. He says he’s used the app in L.A., New York, Washington, D.C., and overseas in Amsterdam, Melbourne and Sydney. Indeed, Uber has operations in more than 200 cities and Vancouver remains the only place in which they’ve had to pull out.
Company executives have plans to speak with Vancouver City Council next week. Councillor Geoff Meggs says the president of Canadian operations has already come to him. Meggs says he will be introducing a motion to review taxi service.
“My view is that everybody is free to walk through the same doors, both provincially and at the city level,” Meggs told Global News. “We’re hoping this review will allow everybody to say their piece.”
But not everyone is excited about Uber’s potential return. Taxi companies are already speaking up against the app. Carolyn Bauer of the Vancouver Taxi Association says there are big safety concerns with using unregulated drivers, as well as legal ramifications.
“Anybody that owns a 2005 vehicle can register with them and come on the road. Is their safety a concern,” asks Bauer. “Absolutely it is,” she says.
“If they do start-up, they would be in contravention of all the laws in British Columbia,” she says.
But Uber says demand for the service in the area is high and they’ve already had to work around hundreds of different regulations in other cities. It seems the ride-share company is ready to get back on the road here.
–With files from Elaine Yong.