This week the rideshare tech company Uber started a new online petition to allow their services to operate in Vancouver. Currently, the British Columbian government is restraining the upstart global taxi company by enforcing regulations that require all Uber drivers to charge a minimum $75 limousine rate, as laid out in the Passenger Transportation Board rate structure. Since Uber’s main cliental uses the service for short rides, the regulation has prevented the service from gaining any ground. Uber hopes that public opinion can reverse the Province’s decision to side with the taxi industry.
If you’ve never heard of Uber, here’s a brief bio:
The company was started in San Francisco as an alternative ridesharing service. It operates through a smartphone app where clients can connect with local drivers. The app allows the customers to track the proximity of the driver through a GPS system. With a variety of cars to choose from, clients are given more personal options when choosing their transportation. They are also able to rate and comment on their experience and their specific driver (anonymously). Drivers are also able to rate their passengers. Uber currently operates in 142 cities in 40 different countries around the world.
Vancouver briefly had access to Uber in May of 2012. But after pressure from the local taxi industry, the province quickly curtailed their business hopes. Uber left Vancouver the same year, making our city the only metropolitan centre that Uber has pulled out of.
Now Uber is back and looking for a second kick-at-the-can. This summer they offered a promotional service, delivering ice cream, everyone’s favourite cold treat. They hope that their petition will force the Provincial Government to rethink the current regulations. The petition currently has over 6,000 signatures.