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Uber, Lyft launch in Vancouver

Click to play video 'Uber and Lyft approved for Metro Vancouver and Whistler' Uber and Lyft approved for Metro Vancouver and Whistler
After months of waiting and endless bureaucratic delays, Uber and Lyft have finally been approved to offer ride-hailing in Metro Vancouver and Whistler. Nadia Stewart reports. – Jan 23, 2020

That was fast.

Less than a day after being approved to operate in the Lower Mainland, Uber and Lyft have launched their apps and are offering rides in Vancouver.

The apps went live at 8 a.m.

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In an email Thursday, Uber broke down when and where drivers are expected to see the most business, including peak rush hour times and Friday and Saturday nights up to 2 a.m.

“We expect that busy downtown neighbourhoods will include Yaletown, Gastown and the Granville Strip,” Uber’s email said.

READ MORE: Uber, Lyft given green light to operate in B.C.’s Lower Mainland

The announcement came after the City of Vancouver issued business licences to both Uber and its main competitor Lyft the same day both companies were approved to operate by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB).

The city said it has been informed by Lyft that it has 388 standard vehicles and 23 zero-emission vehicles ready to hit the roads, but no timeline has been given for when that company will start operating.

Uber did not give numbers on their fleet size to the city Thursday.

Click to play video 'B.C. transportation minister makes ridesharing announcement' B.C. transportation minister makes ridesharing announcement
B.C. transportation minister makes ridesharing announcement – Jan 23, 2020

While the PTB’s approval allows Uber and Lyft drivers to operate throughout the Lower Mainland and Whistler, only Vancouver had issued business licences as of Thursday night.

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That means drivers will only be able to pick up passengers within Vancouver’s borders, although they will be allowed to drop customers off across the region.

READ MORE: Uber and Lyft have arrived in Metro Vancouver, but a region-wide licence will take more time

Other municipalities, including Burnaby, Richmond and the Tri-Cities have business licences ready to go for ride-hailing companies, while the North Shore and New Westminster are waiting for a regional business licence to be created.

TransLink Mayors’ Council chair Jonathan Cote said that framework should be ready by early February, but will have to be approved by each municipality in Metro Vancouver.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was the sole dissenting vote against the region-wide licence, and has vowed to not welcome Uber or Lyft into the city.