It’s a question that has alluded nearly everyone.
We at Ryde do not claim to know the magic formula for reviving the taxi companies across the world, but what we do know is, with the future very clearly defined, taxi’s can start preparing now for the introduction of ride-sharing services in Vancouver. By bringing all the taxis onto a single platform that enhances the communication with customers, it probably will not prevent a decline in ridership, but it might prevent the eventual onset of a bankruptcy.
Millions of tourists get off their flights at North America’s best airport, ready to create experiences that will last for a lifetime, and the first thing they see on their mobile application is, Uber is not available in Vancouver. Typically, their very first introduction with Vancouver’s transportation system is either a taxi, with a driver whose main goal is to deceive you, or the Canada Line System, where a $5 airport surcharge will make you consider taking a taxi instead. Ultimately, there are two main reasons why Uber does not exist in Vancouver; ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) and PTB (Passenger Transportation Board).
ICBC is the exclusive insurance provider for all vehicles in British Columbia, and they do not offer an insurance scheme that permits private vehicles to pick up passengers for hire. The only way to permit a vehicle to pick up commercial customers, is to obtain a commercial license. Once a vehicle has a commercial license, they are subject to the regulations set by PTB.
PTB is the regulatory authority for all commercial vehicles. The biggest regulatory hurdle that PTB has created in Vancouver, is the introduction of a minimum fare of C$63.75 per trip, that is a permitted 15% discount over the actual value of C$75. This ensures that commercial for-hire vehicles do not compete against the taxi industry for short trips.
Uber did make an entrance in 2012, however, the regulators ensured that the minimum price of C$75 was adhered to, making the service redundant for a majority of use cases. Uber quietly pulled out soon after they launched, unable to by-pass the regulatory authority.
This article won’t comment onto possible reasons why the Government of British Columbia is stalling the progress on bringing Uber into Vanocuver, however, there are many alternative start-ups available that try and fill the gap between what visitors and residents yearn for, and what they have, including Erete.