Uber launching ‘next week’ in Victoria, says ride-hailing service

Uber launching 'next week' in Victoria, says ride-hailing service
An Uber logo is shown in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020.

Commuters in Victoria will soon be able to hail a ride not just via taxi but also Uber when the app hits the gas in B.C.’s capital following a long-awaited, bumpy road to fruition.

“Next week, Uber will be available in Victoria, and here’s all the information you need to know,” reads a Monday email from the ride-hailing giant to potential drivers. 

A company spokesperson tells CHEK News an exact date in the Capital Region will be revealed “close to” launch, similar to Kelowna where Uber is also set to start operating in early June.

It was on May 10 when B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) announced it had approved a transportation network services transfer application from ride-hailing service ReRyde to Uber, meaning the company’s flagship service could operate on Vancouver Island.

A subsequent CHEK Point Poll saw 60.67 per cent of respondents (3472 votes) in support of the decision, while 39.33 per cent were opposed.

SEE MAY 10 STORY: Uber is coming to Victoria as popular ride-hailing service overcomes regulatory hurdles

The PTB is an independent tribunal whose primary responsibility is to make decisions on applications relating to passenger-directed vehicle authorizations.

In a 60-page PTB decision document released last month, the board said 40 organizations expressed interest in Uber operating in Victoria and Kelowna — though only seven were in favour of the ride-hailing service that already operated in places like Vancouver.

In December 2021, the board rejected Uber’s ride-hailing application to expand to Victoria, saying the expansion would harm existing rideshare and taxi companies in the area amid COVID-19.

The following August, Uber unsuccessfully reapplied to operate locally under ReRyde’s license but met with mixed reactions and, ultimately, a denied application from the PTB.

“We’ve heard from local businesses, entrepreneurs and our hospitality industry that there is an immediate demand for these services,” said former Victoria mayor Lisa Helps in 2021.

The president of the BC Taxi Association Mohan Kang told CHEK News the taxi industry does not want Uber to expand to the region.

“We, in the taxi industry, cannot survive with the unfair competition,” Kang said.

Uber’s food delivery platform Uber Eats and vehicle rental service Uber Rent already operate in Victoria — the latter’s launch announced on May 8 alongside Kelowna.

The company’s apps, including Uber Driver where potential ride-share drivers can register, are available for download in the Apple and Google Play stores.

READ ALSO: Uber Eats launches cannabis delivery service in Vancouver, Victoria

-with files from CHEK’s Roger Collins

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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