Ridesharing in Metro Vancouver has arrived, but if you live in parts of Delta, you will be out of luck if you want to use some of the services.
On Friday morning both Uber and Lyft officially launched their platforms after the Passenger Transportation Board granted Uber and Lyft licenses to operate in certain parts of B.C. on Thursday.
Lyft will be operating initially in Vancouver serving the Vancouver International Airport, Pacific National Exhibition and City of Vancouver core bordered by Dunbar St., 41st Ave., and Victoria Dr. As more drivers join the community, Lyft plans to expand its operating area.
To support drivers, Lyft has opened three driver hub locations in Surrey, Richmond and the City of Vancouver. The company has also partnered with Valley Driving School to help prospective drivers obtain their Class 4 commercial license. Find out more about becoming as driver at www.lyft.com/vancouver.
At this point, Lyft will not be operating in the Delta area.
As for Uber, they will be serving Metro Vancouver, including Ladner and parts of North Delta. Uber says that it will be expanding across Metro Vancouver as soon as more drivers complete the permit requirements. To meet the expected demand for rides in Metro Vancouver, interested drivers can visit drive.uber.com to learn more about driving with Uber.
And while news of the two new ridesharing options has been welcomed by many, one Delta councillor is disappointed in the way the services are initially being rolled out.
“While I am excited that ride sharing companies like Uber will be operating in some parts of Delta, I am extremely disappointed to learn that Tsawwassen and Tsawwassen First Nation will be excluded entirely from Uber’s service area,” said Coun. Dylan Kruger. “Obviously that is really disappointing for all those drivers who have been waiting eight years to get ride sharing and now they have to wait even longer.”
Kruger said he spoke directly with Uber representatives on Thursday night who told him they tried their best, but the provincial regulations and framework that has been put in place has simply made it unviable, specifically the Class 4 Drivers’ License requirements.
“They just have not been able to get enough Class 4 drivers to make it feasible,” he said. “When you get further out from Vancouver, it’s Tsawwassen, South Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, the North Shore – at this time it is such a big barrier to entry it’s artificially deflating the supply of drivers.”
Kruger said the City of Delta will continue to lobby to ensure that Uber and Lyft will at some point serve all of Delta.
“We have been very proactive and put forward a strong message that Delta is in favour of ride sharing throughout the community,” he said. “We’ve put forward the lowest business license fees out of anyone in the Lower Mainland - $25 a vehicle as compared to $510 in Burnaby, which is the highest. I think in many ways that helped make Uber more viable in parts of Delta. What needs to take place is an inter-municipal licencing framework. Right now we have 21 municipalities, 21 different fees and structures. This is a process that should have been started five or six years ago, not on the eve of ride sharing coming into B.C.”
Kruger says further reports on the framework will be coming to council later in February or early March.
“This is about people’s ability to safely get around their communities,” he said. “Ride-sharing should be accessible to everyone – especially those living South of the Fraser who need it the most.”