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Uber hoping to operate in Victoria by purchasing Vancouver company's ride-hailing licence

Last week, ride-hailing giant Uber announced it was trying to enter the Victoria and Kelowna markets once again.

Instead of seeking a new operating licence for the regions, like Uber had done last year, the company was hoping to purchase and transfer a licence from another ride-hailing service that already had permission to operate in Victoria.

Vancouver-based company ReRyde has confirmed that Uber purchased its operating licence for its B.C. regions.

ReRyde was granted an operating licence for all regions in the province except for the Lower Mainland and Whistler, but had yet to begin operating in Victoria.

The company tells CTV News it received its licence during the early days of the pandemic, which stalled its launch plans.

"Our decision to sell to Uber was difficult as B.C. is our home; however, we want our community to be serviced as the rest of Canada and we believe Uber can fill the high standards that ReRyde constantly delivers to its community," said the company in a statement Friday.

Last year, when Uber applied for a new licence in Victoria, the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) denied its application, saying it did not believe there was enough demand in the region, and that local operators needed more time to recover from the pandemic.

The process for approving licence transfers is different, however, and the PTB only needs to assess if the purchaser is capable of providing the service, according to Uber.

"...If the transfer of the license is unsuccessful, ReRyde will be servicing greater Victoria with honour," said the company.


Last week, the local transportation industry said it felt like Uber's attempts to move to Victoria were unfair.

Mohan Kang, president of the B.C. Taxi Association, said the taxi industry was still recovering from the pandemic, and that there wasn't enough business or drivers to go around in the Capital Regional District.

Meanwhile, Lucky to Go, the only ride-hailing company that's operating in Victoria, agrees there's not enough demand in the region to allow another company to enter the market.

"From our perspective, this is not a fair play," said Lucky to Go CEO Mandeep Rana on Sept. 2.

"How could you justify that there was a demand when you’re acquiring a company that hasn’t even operated?" he said.

There's no timeline yet on when the PTB will finish reviewing Uber's transfer application. Last week, the passenger transportation board said it was unable to comment on the process.

In a press release last week, Uber said it hoped to be operating in Victoria by December.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island's Brendan Strain. Top Stories

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