In huge news for the province’s transportation landscape, the B.C. government has begun the process of approving ride-sharing companies for business.
On Monday, December 16th, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) granted the first-ever ride-hailing license to Green Coast Ventures Inc., operating under the trade name “Whistle.”
Green Coast Ventures will focus on operations in Whistler and the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island outside of the Capital Regional District.
“Whistle is a ride-hailing app focusing on resort towns, where the struggle for transit solutions during peak times is the greatest,” wrote Green Coast Ventures in their application, an excerpt of which was in the PTB’s decision report.
“The Whistle app matches other industry leaders in quickly connecting passengers with certified drivers, for an upfront fare, from customers’ phones. Passengers may also choose to share their ride, aiming to reduce fares for locals who often have to commute from outside of town to work.”
The company’s next steps including obtaining insurance from ICBC and working with local municipalities to conform with the pertinent by-laws.
In a phone conference held with various members of the media, Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said she too was eager to hear the PTB’s ruling on the larger players of ride-hailing.
Trevena said that the ministry were hoping to hear those decisions “in the very near future.”
In a bulletin announcing the license, the PTB also announced they had rejected a bid from a Victoria-based company named LTG Technologies.
There were a few reasons why the bid was rejected, including the fact that “the directors of LTG do not have experience in operating a passenger transportation experience.”
There are 22 other companies, including Lyft and Uber, waiting for rulings from the PTB. There is no given timeline on when those companies can expect either an approval or a denial.