Two ride-hailing companies have Victoria plans rejected

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft have been given the green light to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, but Greater Victoria is still waiting for a company to be approved to offer the service in this part of the province.

The Passenger Transportation Board rejected applications from two companies that wanted to serve Greater Victoria.

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Citing concerns about both companies’ business plans, the board rejected applications from ReRyde Technologies, which intended to operate in Greater Victoria, the Island and the Okanagan, and Kater Technologies, which intended to operate in all regions of the province.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she wasn’t privy to the province’s reasons for rejecting the applications. “But I think it’s safe to say that our mobility future here does include ride-sharing,” she said. “We’re not the province. We can’t approve them, but certainly we can continue to signal that they are welcome here.”

In terms of the larger, more established companies such as Lyft and Uber, Helps said it makes sense for them to launch on the Lower Mainland. “We weren’t expecting Uber and Lyft to start in Victoria,” she said. “It’s very logical for them to start in Vancouver to explore that market and we’ll see what happens here. There may be some smaller companies that start here and grow.”

In its written decision denying the application, the board concluded Vancouver-based Kater would not be capable of providing the service.

“The Board notes that the experience of the [chief executive] and operations manager does not include experience in the commercial passenger transportation industry prior to 2019,” it said, adding the business plan Kater submitted was unrealistic. “Its business plan is ambitious; the services it says it will provide and the stakeholder relationships it intends to build do not align with its financial information.”

The board concluded financial projections were too optimistic and did not account for competition, and the company also underestimated its costs.

“Kater’s projection that it will break-even after four months of operation is unrealistic,” it said.

As for Richmond-based ReRyde, which has been operating in Manitoba since 2018, the board concluded the company failed to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of passenger transportation in B.C.

The board noted that while ReRyde already has a National Safety Code certificate, its business plan contains no reference to the requirements that must be followed by drivers and vehicles.

The board noted the business plan “falls short of demonstrating that ReRyde has the capability to provide the proposed service” as it offers little information on hiring drivers, inspecting vehicles and how it will actively manage the fleet in B.C.

“There is insufficient evidence of appropriate monitoring of drivers’ records, a lack of explanation as to the vetting and storage of driving and criminal record check documents and no reference to the need for annual updates of drivers’ records,” the board said.

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the approval of two more companies shows the government has succeeded where the previous government failed.

“Over the last two years, our government has been diligent in developing a framework that puts passenger safety first, and we remained steadfast against pressures to abandon the safety measures,” she said. “Road users can now be confident that B.C.’s ride-hailing services will comply with some of the highest safety standards in North America.”

In December, the board approved an application from Tofino-based Green Coast to operate everywhere on Vancouver Island, except for the south Island, including Greater Victoria.

Green Coast, which will do business as Whistle and WhistleRide, and was the first company approved to offer ride-hailing in B.C., intends to launch its service in Tofino on Feb. 3 and a week later in Whistler.

Owner Dylan Green said getting drivers has been a challenge as many would-be drivers do not have Class 4 licences or don’t have appropriate vehicles.

However, he said they will launch with five cars in Tofino and 10 in Whistler. They intend to have 15 in Tofino by the summer, and about 30 in Whistler.

Green said he’s not concerned about Uber and Lyft being approved, despite those two companies being allowed to operate in Whistler. “They are up against the same challenges we are [shortage of drivers] and we think they will be so busy with Metro Vancouver,” he said.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

— With a file from Lindsay Kines

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft have been given the green light to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, but Greater Victoria is still waiting for a company to be approved to offer the service in this part of the province.

The Passenger Transportation Board rejected applications from two companies that wanted to serve Greater Victoria.

Citing concerns about both companies’ business plans, the board rejected applications from ReRyde Technologies, which intended to operate in Greater Victoria, the Island and the Okanagan, and Kater Technologies, which intended to operate in all regions of the province.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she wasn’t privy to the province’s reasons for rejecting the applications. “But I think it’s safe to say that our mobility future here does include ride-sharing,” she said. “We’re not the province. We can’t approve them, but certainly we can continue to signal that they are welcome here.”

In terms of the larger, more established companies such as Lyft and Uber, Helps said it makes sense for them to launch on the Lower Mainland. “We weren’t expecting Uber and Lyft to start in Victoria,” she said. “It’s very logical for them to start in Vancouver to explore that market and we’ll see what happens here. There may be some smaller companies that start here and grow.”

In its written decision denying the application, the board concluded Vancouver-based Kater would not be capable of providing the service.

“The Board notes that the experience of the [chief executive] and operations manager does not include experience in the commercial passenger transportation industry prior to 2019,” it said, adding the business plan Kater submitted was unrealistic. “Its business plan is ambitious; the services it says it will provide and the stakeholder relationships it intends to build do not align with its financial information.”

The board concluded financial projections were too optimistic and did not account for competition, and the company also underestimated its costs.

“Kater’s projection that it will break-even after four months of operation is unrealistic,” it said.

As for Richmond-based ReRyde, which has been operating in Manitoba since 2018, the board concluded the company failed to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of passenger transportation in B.C.

The board noted that while ReRyde already has a National Safety Code certificate, its business plan contains no reference to the requirements that must be followed by drivers and vehicles.

The board noted the business plan “falls short of demonstrating that ReRyde has the capability to provide the proposed service” as it offers little information on hiring drivers, inspecting vehicles and how it will actively manage the fleet in B.C.

“There is insufficient evidence of appropriate monitoring of drivers’ records, a lack of explanation as to the vetting and storage of driving and criminal record check documents and no reference to the need for annual updates of drivers’ records,” the board said.

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the approval of two more companies shows the government has succeeded where the previous government failed.

“Over the last two years, our government has been diligent in developing a framework that puts passenger safety first, and we remained steadfast against pressures to abandon the safety measures,” she said. “Road users can now be confident that B.C.’s ride-hailing services will comply with some of the highest safety standards in North America.”

In December, the board approved an application from Tofino-based Green Coast to operate everywhere on Vancouver Island, except for the south Island, including Greater Victoria.

Green Coast, which will do business as Whistle and WhistleRide, and was the first company approved to offer ride-hailing in B.C., intends to launch its service in Tofino on Feb. 3 and a week later in Whistler.

Owner Dylan Green said getting drivers has been a challenge as many would-be drivers do not have Class 4 licences or don’t have appropriate vehicles.

However, he said they will launch with five cars in Tofino and 10 in Whistler. They intend to have 15 in Tofino by the summer, and about 30 in Whistler.

Green said he’s not concerned about Uber and Lyft being approved, despite those two companies being allowed to operate in Whistler. “They are up against the same challenges we are [shortage of drivers] and we think they will be so busy with Metro Vancouver,” he said.

— with a file from Lindsay Kines

aduffy@timescolonist.com

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft have been given the green light to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, but Greater Victoria is still waiting for a company to be approved to offer the service in this part of the province.

The Passenger Transportation Board rejected applications from two companies that wanted to serve Greater Victoria.

Citing concerns about both companies’ business plans, the board rejected applications from ReRyde Technologies, which intended to operate in Greater Victoria, the Island and the Okanagan, and Kater Technologies, which intended to operate in all regions of the province.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she wasn’t privy to the province’s reasons for rejecting the applications. “But I think it’s safe to say that our mobility future here does include ride-sharing,” she said. “We’re not the province. We can’t approve them, but certainly we can continue to signal that they are welcome here.”

In terms of the larger, more established companies such as Lyft and Uber, Helps said it makes sense for them to launch on the Lower Mainland. “We weren’t expecting Uber and Lyft to start in Victoria,” she said. “It’s very logical for them to start in Vancouver to explore that market and we’ll see what happens here. There may be some smaller companies that start here and grow.”

In its written decision denying the application, the board concluded Vancouver-based Kater would not be capable of providing the service.

“The Board notes that the experience of the [chief executive] and operations manager does not include experience in the commercial passenger transportation industry prior to 2019,” it said, adding the business plan Kater submitted was unrealistic. “Its business plan is ambitious; the services it says it will provide and the stakeholder relationships it intends to build do not align with its financial information.”

The board concluded financial projections were too optimistic and did not account for competition, and the company also underestimated its costs.

“Kater’s projection that it will break-even after four months of operation is unrealistic,” it said.

As for Richmond-based ReRyde, which has been operating in Manitoba since 2018, the board concluded the company failed to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of passenger transportation in B.C.

The board noted that while ReRyde already has a National Safety Code certificate, its business plan contains no reference to the requirements that must be followed by drivers and vehicles.

The board noted the business plan “falls short of demonstrating that ReRyde has the capability to provide the proposed service” as it offers little information on hiring drivers, inspecting vehicles and how it will actively manage the fleet in B.C.

“There is insufficient evidence of appropriate monitoring of drivers’ records, a lack of explanation as to the vetting and storage of driving and criminal record check documents and no reference to the need for annual updates of drivers’ records,” the board said.

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the approval of two more companies shows the government has succeeded where the previous government failed.

“Over the last two years, our government has been diligent in developing a framework that puts passenger safety first, and we remained steadfast against pressures to abandon the safety measures,” she said. “Road users can now be confident that B.C.’s ride-hailing services will comply with some of the highest safety standards in North America.”

In December, the board approved an application from Tofino-based Green Coast to operate everywhere on Vancouver Island, except for the south Island, including Greater Victoria.

Green Coast, which will do business as Whistle and WhistleRide, and was the first company approved to offer ride-hailing in B.C., intends to launch its service in Tofino on Feb. 3 and a week later in Whistler.

Owner Dylan Green said getting drivers has been a challenge as many would-be drivers do not have Class 4 licences or don’t have appropriate vehicles.

However, he said they will launch with five cars in Tofino and 10 in Whistler. They intend to have 15 in Tofino by the summer, and about 30 in Whistler.

Green said he’s not concerned about Uber and Lyft being approved, despite those two companies being allowed to operate in Whistler. “They are up against the same challenges we are [shortage of drivers] and we think they will be so busy with Metro Vancouver,” he said.

— with a file from Lindsay Kines

aduffy@timescolonist.com

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft have been given the green light to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, but Greater Victoria is still waiting for a company to be approved to offer the service in this part of the province.

The Passenger Transportation Board rejected applications from two companies that wanted to serve Greater Victoria.

Citing concerns about both companies’ business plans, the board rejected applications from ReRyde Technologies, which intended to operate in Greater Victoria, the Island and the Okanagan, and Kater Technologies, which intended to operate in all regions of the province.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she wasn’t privy to the province’s reasons for rejecting the applications. “But I think it’s safe to say that our mobility future here does include ride-sharing,” she said. “We’re not the province. We can’t approve them, but certainly we can continue to signal that they are welcome here.”

In terms of the larger, more established companies such as Lyft and Uber, Helps said it makes sense for them to launch on the Lower Mainland. “We weren’t expecting Uber and Lyft to start in Victoria,” she said. “It’s very logical for them to start in Vancouver to explore that market and we’ll see what happens here. There may be some smaller companies that start here and grow.”

In its written decision denying the application, the board concluded Vancouver-based Kater would not be capable of providing the service.

“The Board notes that the experience of the [chief executive] and operations manager does not include experience in the commercial passenger transportation industry prior to 2019,” it said, adding the business plan Kater submitted was unrealistic. “Its business plan is ambitious; the services it says it will provide and the stakeholder relationships it intends to build do not align with its financial information.”

The board concluded financial projections were too optimistic and did not account for competition, and the company also underestimated its costs.

“Kater’s projection that it will break-even after four months of operation is unrealistic,” it said.

As for Richmond-based ReRyde, which has been operating in Manitoba since 2018, the board concluded the company failed to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of passenger transportation in B.C.

The board noted that while ReRyde already has a National Safety Code certificate, its business plan contains no reference to the requirements that must be followed by drivers and vehicles.

The board noted the business plan “falls short of demonstrating that ReRyde has the capability to provide the proposed service” as it offers little information on hiring drivers, inspecting vehicles and how it will actively manage the fleet in B.C.

“There is insufficient evidence of appropriate monitoring of drivers’ records, a lack of explanation as to the vetting and storage of driving and criminal record check documents and no reference to the need for annual updates of drivers’ records,” the board said.

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the approval of two more companies shows the government has succeeded where the previous government failed.

“Over the last two years, our government has been diligent in developing a framework that puts passenger safety first, and we remained steadfast against pressures to abandon the safety measures,” she said. “Road users can now be confident that B.C.’s ride-hailing services will comply with some of the highest safety standards in North America.”

In December, the board approved an application from Tofino-based Green Coast to operate everywhere on Vancouver Island, except for the south Island, including Greater Victoria.

Green Coast, which will do business as Whistle and WhistleRide, and was the first company approved to offer ride-hailing in B.C., intends to launch its service in Tofino on Feb. 3 and a week later in Whistler.

Owner Dylan Green said getting drivers has been a challenge as many would-be drivers do not have Class 4 licences or don’t have appropriate vehicles.

However, he said they will launch with five cars in Tofino and 10 in Whistler. They intend to have 15 in Tofino by the summer, and about 30 in Whistler.

Green said he’s not concerned about Uber and Lyft being approved, despite those two companies being allowed to operate in Whistler. “They are up against the same challenges we are [shortage of drivers] and we think they will be so busy with Metro Vancouver,” he said.

— with a file from Lindsay Kines

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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