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Uber sets launch date for Victoria, Kelowna

Ride-hailing giant Uber has finally announced its start date for two major B.C. cities.

Uber will begin operating in Victoria and Kelowna on Tuesday, June 6.

The service goes live at noon for riders and drivers.

Uber arrives in Victoria and Kelowna – as well as Chilliwack – following years of trying to break into the market.

Uber had applied several times to operate in these regions, but was denied by the B.C. Passenger Transportation Safety Board (PTB), which said there was not enough demand for the service, and that local taxi and ride-hailing companies needed more time to recover from the pandemic.

In 2022, Uber changed tactics and applied for a licence transfer from another ride-hailing company, Vancouver-based ReRyde, which had already been approved to operate in these areas.

The approval process for a licence transfer is much more lenient than approval of a new licence altogether, and on May 10 the PTB approved the licence transfer.

In its decision, the PTB said the licence transfer application received "significant interest" from local stakeholders, such as taxi companies and other ride-hailing operators.

Many argued against the licence transfer, saying that Uber was circumventing the PTB's previous decision, and that it couldn't make a proper business case since it was taking over the licence of a ride-hailing company that had yet to begin operating in Victoria and Kelowna.

Meanwhile, some submissions voiced support, such as Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, which said that Uber provided another means of transportation for people who are impaired, and the Victoria International Airport, which said not enough transportation options were available in the city. Top Stories

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