Regulator rejects Uber’s request to operate outside Lower Mainland and Whistler – Kelowna News

Consumers waiting for ride-sharing giant Uber to enter the BC market will have to wait a little longer.

The Provincial Passenger Transit Commission has denied Uber’s request to provide its transit service to communities outside the Lower Mainland.

Uber, which already has a license in the Lower Mainland and Whistler region, applied to extend service to the rest of the province in September last year.

A decision was expected last December but was postponed while the PTB investigated the effects of COVID on the transport industry.

The report says in part that the pandemic has led to lower customer numbers and lower passenger volumes.

“The Board is concerned that the acceptance of this application at this stage could unduly harm transnational corporations and existing taxi companies. It notes that the markets in the requested regions are unable to absorb further competition at this time” , concluded the 29-page decision.

“After giving due consideration to all evidence and submissions, the council denies the application at this time.”

The ruling said Uber is “fit, suitable and capable” of providing the requested service, but the board was “not satisfied that there is a public need for the requested service.”

The decision frustrated Kelowna City Councilman Ryan Donn, a strong carpool advocate.

“We don’t have enough safe options for getting home,” Donn said.

“It’s kind of ridiculous, we have an international airport, but people can’t take an Uber.”

The decision, says Donn, seems highly political.

He says that the PTB does not listen to the needs of the municipalities that provide feedback to the PTB.

“The municipality has been very strong saying we want this service in our community. We have transportation master plans, we’ve pushed the boundaries with scooter and e-bike sharing, but we can’t get carpooling.

“Ride sharing was something new 10 years ago. We try to be at the forefront of transportation, but we can’t get a basic thing allowed in other parts of the province.”

Uber representatives also say they are disappointed with the decision and will review the entire decision before determining next steps in the coming weeks.

“The Transit Passenger Commission’s decision is startling, disappointing, anti-competitive and inconsistent with what we hear from communities like Victoria and Kelowna,” Uber said in a statement.

“There is significant public demand for ridesharing services, as evidenced by the support of local community and business organizations, and the strong uptake of ridesharing in Metro Vancouver since our launch. British Columbians have made it clear that they want access to the same safe and reliable service. rides available in communities around the world.”

Taxi companies across the province submitted briefs opposing Uber.

About William G. Patrick

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