Metro-Vancouver based ridesharing company Kater has applied for a licence to operate B.C.-wide.
So far, major players Uber and Lyft have said they will restrict operations to Metro Vancouver, while Alberta-based Tapp Car has applied to operate in multiple communities around the province, including Victoria and the Okanagan.
“As one of the last North American areas without ridesharing, B.C. has an opportunity to introduce the service that is desperately needed in the right way,” said Kater CEO Scott Larson in a media release.
WATCH (July 30, 2019): Kater moving toward a full ridesharing service in B.C.
“Our goal is to serve the escalating consumer demand in British Columbia while mitigating some of the inherent downsides that other jurisdictions have witnessed from incumbent ride-hailing providers.”
The company, which has the support of the taxi industry, said it plans to operate 250 wheelchair-accessible vehicles and will guarantee drivers a wage of at least $25 per hour.
Kater said it is also looking at other financial incentives for drivers that use accessible, hybrid or electric vehicles. And it said it will offer financial incentives to drivers and location-based pricing to ensure drivers do not abandon the suburbs during peak hours.
It said it plans to roll out service in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and the Okanagan this winter, then expand incrementally to other parts of the province in 2020.
WATCH (May 20, 2019): Taking a Kater test-ride
Pricing would be set at a minimum of 90 per cent of current taxi rates and a maximum of 200 per cent.
The company says it will also integrate taxis into its platform when Kater vehicles are not available.
Kater, which has a partnership with the Vancouver Taxi Association, has been operating on a pilot-basis in Vancouver since the spring.
The company was able to sidestep existing regulations restricting ridesharing by obtaining permits through the association, staffing vehicles with Class 4-licensed taxi drivers, and keeping to the current taxi pricing structure.