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

UPDATE: ‘Spontaneous combustion’ likely cause of fire at mushroom composting facility on Lougheed Highway

First responders were at the blaze near the Skawahlook First Nation Tuesday

Approval for AirBnB-style rentals in Kent delayed after public hearing

Staff will be taking the bylaw amendments back for a closer look before final adoption

Kent Harrison Emergency Support team honoured for work during 2017 wildfire season

The volunteer group was activated for 254 days in a row to help evacuees

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read