Uber’s application to begin operating on Vancouver Island was denied this week by the province’s Passenger Transportation Board. 

In 2020, the transportation service provider received special authorizations to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler. 

Since then, Uber has sought to expand its ride-hailing services across British Columbia, including Vancouver Island. 

Uber has not yet been granted permission to operate on Vancouver Island or other areas of the province such as Okanagan, BC North Central and more.

Uber believes the addition of the ride-hailing service would benefit both residents interested in driving or riding with Uber, spur more innovative offerings and improve services among existing transportation service providers. 

There is also data to show residents of Vancouver Island may think so too. 

According to a report conducted by Uber, between March 2021 and August 2021 there was a 300% increase in the number of people who opened their Uber app and searched for rides in Victoria. 

The application includes “Submitters”, which include taxi associations from across the province as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who oppose Uber operating in their area. 

Some of the reasons “Submitters” oppose the service include fleet size, rates, predatory pricing, economic impacts on taxis including a loss of share values, impact on transit ridership, increased congestion and more. 

The transportation board said there is not sufficient evidence of “public need” or interest for the ride-hailing service in regions of BC outside of Vancouver, and the expansion to other markets may “unduly harm taxi operators” in these regions, which have already seen dips in ridership due to the pandemic.

After considering the application and economic impacts, the Board acknowledged that Uber is fit, proper and capable of providing the service.

However, it says approval of the application and the addition of Uber would not promote sound economic conditions in BC’s transportation business. 

According to the Board, because ridership has dropped significantly through the pandemic, the proposed service would not be a public need at this time. 

As a result, the application to bring Uber to Vancouver Island and other areas in BC outlined in the report was denied.

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