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Uber seeks approval to expand into Victoria, Kelowna

The Uber app is pictured on a smartphone in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, Dec. 30, 2019.
The Uber app is pictured on a smartphone in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The world’s largest ridesharing company is looking to widen its B.C. service.

On Wednesday, Uber said it has submitted an application to the Passenger Transportation Board that would allow it to operate across the rest of the province, starting in Victoria and Kelowna this year.

The company has offered rides in Metro Vancouver since January, after a long fight with the provincial government.

Click to play video 'Uber and Lyft in Vancouver.' Uber and Lyft in Vancouver.
Uber and Lyft in Vancouver.

“With the launch of Uber, ideally in time for the holiday season, we look forward to more safe, reliable, and affordable rides for Victoria and Kelowna residents,” Michael van Hemmen, head of city operations in Canada, said in a news release.

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The Passenger Transportation Board, which is independent from the government, is expected to take up to three months to consider the application.

Lyft, the world’s second-largest ridesharing business, currently only operates in Metro Vancouver as well.

Click to play video 'Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver' Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver
Uber, Lyft begin operating in Vancouver

Premier John Horgan had pledged to bring ridesharing to B.C. by Christmas 2019, but government indecision and a drawn-out review process led to services being pushed back to 2020.

About 100,000 people in Victoria and Kelowna have opened the Uber app on their smartphones over the last year, Uber added.

“Ridesharing provides another option for people to get around Victoria, and is a great fit for our reputation as a tech city,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in a press release.