One more step toward ride-hailing in B.C. (Black Press Media file)

First ride-hailing licence approved in B.C.

Tofino company approved to operate in Lower Mainland, Whistler and parts of Vancouver Island

B.C. has approved its first ride-hailing licence.

The Passenger Transportation Board said Monday it has approved an application from Green Coast Ventures, based in Tofino, to operate in Whistler and Tofino.

According to the board’s decision, Green Coast, which operates as Whistle Ride, wants to focus resort communities such as those two because of the “unique transportation needs” there, namely the seasonal influx of tourists.

The company argued taxi companies cannot “scale up” to serve a sudden flood of people in peak seasons, the decision said.

Municipalities, labour groups and about 30 taxi companies submitted material for consideration as well, mostly arguing that ride-hailing will lead to more gridlock, pollution, and traffic-related deaths, predatory pricing, and the possible destruction of the existing taxi industry.

“The [Vancouver Taxi Association] argues that the only difference between taxis and [ride-hailing] providers is that [ride-hailing] providers deliver their services through an app,” the decision said.

The panel chair, Catharine Read, disagreed, saying the ride-hailing business model is vastly different from that of the taxi industry. Street hails and taxi stands, the board added, will still only be available for taxi drivers.

Minimum rates will be based on the local area’s taxi flag rates, the decision said, and there will be no cap on the size of Green Coast’s fleet.

The board said in a news release the next step is for the company to secure proper insurance and work with municipalities on their licensing requirements.

Premier John Horgan had been promoting his election promise to bring in ride hailing by the end of the year, and critics had wondered if it’d make the deadline.

READ MORE: Drivers’ conditions, wheelchair access top concerns ahead of ride-hailing in B.C.

At the same time, the transportation board said it rejected an application from LTG Technologies, whose trade name is Lucky to Go, to operate in the Capital Regional District, the rest of Vancouver Island, and the category that encompasses the Okanagan, Kootenays, Boundary, Cariboo regions.

The Victoria company’s application lacked proper documentation, its leaders lack experience, and its business plan “does not reveal an understanding” of the passenger transportation business, the decision said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Migration drives Greater Victoria’s population growth

Region surpasses 400,000 population despite seeing more deaths than births

Oak Bay looks into boulevard gardens

Legalizing boulevard gardening among working group ideas

Peninsula and Area Agricultural Commission criticizes Central Saanich over committee demise

PAAC also calls on municipality to revive ag committee disbanded earlier

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read