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Uber takes another swing at operating in Victoria, Kelowna

Uber is once again applying to operate in the Vancouver Island and Kelowna regions, less than a year after its most recent application was denied by the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB).

In December, the PTB said that while Uber had proven to be a competent service provider, the board did not think there was enough demand in the areas it was hoping to expand to – and that the taxi industry needed more time to fairly recover from the pandemic in those regions.

On Wednesday, Uber said it applied to operate in the Victoria and Kelowna regions once again, but this time under a new method.

Last year, the ride-hailing company applied for a brand new operating licence. This year, it has applied for a licence transfer – meaning it hopes to purchase the operating licence from a company that's currently operating in Kelowna and B.C.'s capital.

When the PTB evaluates new operating licences for ride-hailing services, it examines a variety of factors, such as public interest, company competency, and overall economic benefit for the province.

When the board examines licence transfers, however, it only needs to assess if a company is reliably capable of providing the service, according to Uber.

While there's currently no timeline for when the PTB will finish reviewing Uber's application for the licence transfer, Uber says it hopes to be operating in Victoria and Kelowna by December.

Uber has been operating in Canada for about 10 years, but only recently came to B.C. when it began operating in Vancouver in 2020.

The company says it's seen interest from other communities in British Columbia since then.

"The City of Victoria welcomes additional transportation options that help connect people and businesses to our community," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in Uber's press release Wednesday.

"Ridesharing companies provide safe, reliable, and affordable on-demand services that meet the expectations of our residents and visitors," she said.

A similar opinion was shared by Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, according to Uber.

"Uber’s arrival in Kelowna is long overdue and we encourage the PTB to finally approve this application," he said in the release. Top Stories

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