Lyft to launch ride hailing in Vancouver; Victoria start still unclear

VANCOUVER — Ride-hailing company Lyft expects to be operating in Vancouver before the end of this year, but its plans for Victoria and the rest of the province remain unclear.

Peter Lukomskyj, Lyft’s first general manager in B.C., said in a statement that the company hopes to expand beyond the Lower Mainland to areas where additional transportation options are needed. But Lyft remains concerned about the limited number of drivers with Class 4 commercial licences, he said.

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“Based on the number of Class 4 commercially licensed drivers required to provide a reliable service, we intend to operate in the Lower Mainland to start,” he said. “From there, we'll be able to determine how and when we'll continue to expand our service in the province.”

The Passenger Transportation Board in B.C. has yet to unveil its final ride-hailing regulations, but a statement from Lyft said the company is confident its operations will begin in the Lower Mainland 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 number of vehicles permitted for each ride-booking service are expected by the end of the summer.

Lyft’s plans for ride-hailing services outside Vancouver are expected to be announced closer to its Lower Mainland launch.

“We are still quite concerned about the requirement for drivers to have commercial licences as it will negatively impact driver supply and restrict the regions in which we are able to operate,” Lukomskyj said.

Class 4 licence holders include taxi, limousine and ambulance drivers. They must be 19 years old with a minimum of two years of non-learner experience and fewer than four penalty points over the preceding two years.

Numerous groups in B.C. have called for ride-hailing.

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