UPDATE: Uber and Lyft begin ride-hailing services in Metro Vancouver today

Travel zones do not include BC Ferries terminals

On Thursday, Uber and Lyft were approved to operate their ride-hailing services in the Lower Mainland and Whistler.

Now, less than 24 hours later, Uber has revealed it has started service immediately.

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Uber turned on its app Friday, Jan. 24 at about 8 a.m. local time.

The ride-hailing company credits "a speedy turnaround from ICBC and the City of Vancouver" for its ability to launch so swiftly.

"Uber will launch today to connect riders with reliable and affordable rides in Metro Vancouver. Residents and visitors alike will now have more transportation options to get them to their destination," the company said in a media release.

While many Metro Vancouver residents are thrilled to have another option, Uber's service area in the region does leave some people out entirely.

Uber's service map for the Metro Vancouver area. Screenshot via Uber
Uber's service map for the Metro Vancouver area. Screenshot via Uber

The map indicates Uber will not go all the way into South Delta, cutting off before Tsawwassen, and will not cover all of West Vancouver — this means customers can’t use Uber to and from either BC Ferries terminal. Cities such as Langley and White Rock are left out entirely. And while Surrey mayor Doug McCallum vowed to keep ride-hailing out of his city, Uber's service map includes a large portion of Surrey — but not all of it.

What remains unclear is how many drivers Uber will have on the roads. Licencing requirements have posed a hiring challenge for the company.

Lyft was the other ride-hailing service approved Thursday, and on Friday morning it announced it would begin service today, Jan. 24, as well. However, its service area is limited to some of Vancouver and YVR Airport. Lyft says it plans to grow the service area.

Lyft's current travel zone in Vancouver. Screen grab Lyft
Lyft's current travel zone in Vancouver. Screen grab Lyft

For the first 10,000 rides taken in B.C., Lyft will donate $5 per ride to Covenant House.

Two other companies that hoped to operate in B.C. were denied on Thursday.

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

With a file from Andrew Duffy/Times Colonist

Note: Uber initially provided its launch time as 11 a.m., but issued a correction indicating the start time was 8 a.m. local time. We have updated our story accordingly.

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