Ride-hailing 101: What you need to know to ride Uber and Lyft in Metro Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Ride-hailing finally comes to Metro Vancouver' Ride-hailing finally comes to Metro Vancouver
After years of government delays and red tape, ride-hailing has finally come to Metro Vancouver, although not without some disappointments. Richard Zussman reports – Jan 24, 2020

It’s official, the ride-hailing rubber has hit the road in parts of Metro Vancouver with the launch of Uber and Lyft on Friday.

The region is the last major city in North America to get the service, and as a result, many residents may be unfamiliar with how it works.

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

Here’s a basic guide on how the services work, along with some specific information on how they will operate in the region.

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, a Lyft driver opens the Lyft app on his phone while waiting for a fare in Pittsburgh. Lyft is lifting the price target for its initial public offering in a sign of the excitement surrounding the stock market debut of a ride-hailing service that’s gaining ground on its rival Uber. With the revision disclosed Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Lyft is now seeking $70 to $72 per share, up from its previous goal of $62 to $68. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File). (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Getting started

Before you can hail a ride with Lyft or Uber, you’ll need to download the app, either from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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Users will need to enter valid a credit card number into the app before they can use it.

From there, punch in your destination, select the type of vehicle you want, and where you need to be picked up from.

The app will show you the cost of your ride before you approve it.

Click to play video: 'Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver' Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver
Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver – Jan 24, 2020

Areas of service

Both Uber and Lyft have provincial authorization to work in the entirety of “Region 1,” which includes Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Squamish-Lillooet corridor.

But the companies are initially launching with very different areas of service.

READ MORE: First rideshare company approved to operate in B.C., Lyft and Uber still waiting for decision

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Uber has launched with the larger coverage area of the two companies.

The entirety of the City of Vancouver and UBC, the City of Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster and the Tri-Cities are within its coverage area.

Virtually all of North Vancouver is covered, as is a large portion of Surrey and Delta and about half of of West Vancouver.

Uber’s initial service area.
Uber’s initial service area. Uber


Lyft is launching with a much smaller service area that includes what the company is calling the “core of Vancouver.”

Service in Vancouver will be bounded by Dunbar Street in the west, 41st Avenue in the south and Victoria Drive in the east.

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The company will also pick up at the PNE fairgrounds and the Vancouver International Airport.

Lyft’s initial service area. Lyft

Base fares


  • Booking fee — $2
  • Base fare — $2.50
  • Per km — $0.70
  • Per min. — $0.33


  • Minimum fare — $5
  • Base fare — $2.50
  • Service fee — $2.50
  • Per km — $0.65
  • Per min. — $0.33


  • Flag rate — $3.37
  • Per km — $1.93
  • Per min. — $0.57

Airport and ferries

Vancouver International Airport 

YVR has limited ride-hailing pickups from both companies to three specific areas. “Ride App” signs are posted in the designated pickup areas.

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Passengers hailing a ride can pick it up at:

  • International Arrivals, Level 2
  • Domestic Arrivals, Level 2
  • South Terminal

Drivers are stationed in a separate waiting area, and passengers are asked to collect all of their luggage before booking a ride.

There are no specific drop-off points for ride-hailing vehicles. Passengers can be dropped off at any permitted unloading area at the airport.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board to issue ride-hail licences in ‘late’ 2019

BC Ferries

Both Horseshoe Bay and the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal are outside of the Lyft and and Uber service area for pickups.

The company says it would welcome the service at both Metro Vancouver terminals.

When service expands, it says vehicles would use the regular pick-up and drop-off areas.

Driving for Uber or Lyft

You can see full Vancouver driver requirements for Uber here and Lyft here.

Here are the key requirements would-be drivers will need to meet.

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  • Be at least 21 years old, have a valid Class 4 driver’s licence
  • Have proof of work eligibility
  • Have proof of vehicle registration and insurance
  • Complete background screening (driving history and criminal record check)
  • Own a vehicle that meets minimum requirements. Uber vehicles must be 2011 models or newer, Lyft vehicles must be 2010 models or newer.
  • Complete vehicle inspection

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