The first ride-hailing service on Vancouver Island hit the road in Tofino Wednesday.
While potential customers in larger cities on Vancouver Island are anxious for that service, the Tofino-based owner of Whistle Ride says resort towns are prime locations for his business.
One of the service’s first customer says it’s time ride-hailing arrived in Tofino.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Jeremy Wallace.
“It’s just nice to have more transportation options and also for visitors because this is a real tourist destination and the expectation I think in the world these days is that ride-hailing is available so it’s nice for Tofino to have it as well.”
The former Tofino Bus owner knows transportation well and he thought a ride-hailing service would be a perfect fit for Tofino and Whistler.
“I think it’s the best spot for it to work because we’re really just small towns but the whole world comes to visit us on weekends, during the summer, holidays and there’s no way a local transportation company can meet that demand,” said Dylan Green.
Green hired a software company to develop and customize the Whistle Ride app. The B.C. government then gave his application the green light in December.
He has five vetted drivers in Tofino, 10 in Whistler and he’s hoping more will join, though prospective drivers will need to jump through some hoops, including getting a class four license, but Green sees ride-hailing as an environmental solution.
“If they have an empty seat, deadheading why not open that up to a fare and then we don’t have congestion. Then we don’t have people being ride-share drivers just for the purposes of collecting fares,” said Green.
A couple of the Whistle Ride drivers say they like the opportunity.
“I really believe we need to have more transportation options out here,” said Gerry Schreiber.
“It’s new and I had some time to see what was going on and was talking to Dylan about it and I thought I’m really interested I want to see what it’s all about,” said Mark Gray, another driver.
Whistle Ride owner says he counting the local tourism operators to get the word out about the new service. It’s also able to service Ucluelet.
The company will launch its service in Whistler on Monday.
The province has yet to greenlight a ride-hailing company for Victoria or the east side of Vancouver Island.