NDP leader John Horgan speaks on behalf of taxi drivers concerned about unregulated competitors at the B.C. legislature in 2014. Since forming government, the NDP has moved ahead with restricted approval of ride hailing licences by the end of 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. taxi app gets set to launch before ride-hailing allowed

Kater plans to link cab companies to customers province-wide

The Vancouver Taxi Association is moving ahead with its own ride-hailing system, using a B.C.-based smartphone app that will allow taxi companies to co-operate to deliver the nearest licensed cab to customers.

Kater, a Surrey-based company, has plans to launch its own fleet of vehicles to compete with established ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber. But for now it wants to set up taxis to use its app, starting in the Lower Mainland, the only large metropolitan area in North America that doesn’t have legal ride-hailing.

RELATED: B.C. ride hailing battle carries on into 2019

RELATED: B.C. adds hundreds of taxis, delays ride hailing

The association has informed the B.C. Passenger Transportation Branch that it has formalized an agreement with Kater to begin using the service in some of its member taxis, the B.C. transportation ministry confirmed in a statement. The taxi group wants to get a jump on ride-hailing, which the province intends to legalize by the end of this year.

“The ministry, through the Passenger Transportation Branch, is taking steps to ensure that all current provincial and licensing requirements are met including a regular, government approved safety inspection of the vehicles, insurance that will cover the carrying of paying passengers and compliance with licence boundaries and other requirements until the fall of 2019 when new regulations will come into force that will allow ride-hailing companies to enter the market,” the ministry statement said.

Last January, Vancouver Taxi Association representative Carolyn Bauer announced the plan to partner with Kater. Bauer told a B.C. government committee the taxi industry wants to embrace new technology, and recognizes the problems people face getting a ride around Metro Vancouver.

“We’re the ones that are being screamed at when people can’t get service,” Bauer told MLAs.

The committee was proposed by B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who has pushed for B.C. to join most large cities in North America to allow Uber, Lyft and other services to supplement taxi service.

The NDP government passed legislation in November to allow ride-hailing services as soon as next fall, with restrictions on their numbers and a requirement for private vehicle drivers to obtain a class four driver’s licence, pass a criminal record check and have vehicles inspected.

Michael van Hemmen, Uber Canada’s Western Canada manager, called the restrictions “key barriers to entry that have prevented ride sharing from operating in B.C.,” but said his company will continue to work with the province to begin operations.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snowy morning on mountain west of Penticton

Snow fell for about two hours and stayed on the ground for four, says resort manager

Penticton woman dies after Riva Ridge Mobile Park fire in May

BC Coroners Service says investigation in progress

Celebration of the life of Penticton philanthropist Kampe scheduled

David Kampe, 77, died on May 8 surrounded by friends and family.

From fire to awards: wild week for Similkameen winery

Roller coaster of a week for the owners at Forbidden Fruit Winery in Cawston

MPs hear retired Penticton nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Snowy morning on mountain west of Penticton

Snow fell for about two hours and stayed on the ground for four, says resort manager

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

It was approved by United Steelworkers Local 1-417, which represents workers in Kamloops, Kelowna

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Man surrenders following standoff in Kamloops

Massive police response in Kamloops was in connection with a reported domestic dispute

Most Read