Ride-hailing company Lyft says it plans to be operating in Vancouver before the end of this year, but it remains concerned about expanding beyond the Lower Mainland.
The Passenger Transportation Board in B.C. has yet to unveil its final ride-hailing regulations, but a statement from Lyft says the company is confident its operations will begin in the Lower Mainland sometime this fall.
The B.C. Transportation Ministry has set Sept. 3 as the date ride-hailing companies can apply to enter the market, while rules covering fares and the number of vehicles permitted for each ride-booking service are expected by the end of the summer.
Peter Lukomskyj has been named as Lyft’s first general manager in B.C., and says the company hopes to expand throughout the province, especially into areas where additional transportation options are most needed.
But he says, given the number of Class 4 commercially-licensed drivers required to sustain the ride-hailing network, the company’s immediate focus is the Lower Mainland.
Lukomskyj says Lyft remains concerned there may not be enough drivers with commercial licences to allow it to expand beyond the region.
Rival Uber expressed similar concerns in July.
The head of Western Canada Operations and Public Affairs for Uber, Michael van Hemmen, said the challenge is providing reliable, affordable service.
“The challenge is that we need enough drivers to be able to provide our service. Reliable, affordable service. We need government approvals to be able to operate,” van Hemmen said.
with files from The Canadian Press