In a move that’s been in the works since 2012, the city of Vancouver has approved Uber and Lyft to operate in the city, according to reports.
Uber originally tried to get into Vancouver, which is Canada’s third-largest metro area, in 2012, but the transportation regulator said the ride-hailing company would be subject to the same rules as limos, and have to charge a minimum of $75 a trip. That stopped Uber from entering.
Travis Kalanick, co-founder and at the time CEO of Uber, was not happy with the rule and expressed his displeasure publicly, even telling a local news outlet that “almost no one was abiding by that rule.”
The company used its usual tactics to try to get into a new city, which include lobbying, Twitter campaigns, emails and calling out politicians, but none of it worked.
Uber tried again in 2014, but Vancouver put a six-month moratorium on new taxi licenses, and the government put plainclothes transit agents on the streets to make sure no taxis were operating illegally. The moratorium was extended multiple times.
On Thursday (Jan. 23), the city finally acquiesced and both Uber and Lyft are now allowed to operate in the city.
“We expect that busy downtown neighbourhoods will include Yaletown, Gastown and the Granville Strip,” Uber said in an email.
The applications for Uber to operate were opened in September of last year.
Vancouver did not suffer without Uber. The amount of people who commuted to work using bikes, transit or just by walking went up from 57 percent 2013 to 59 percent in 2017. The city also invested in bike lanes and the regional transit authority ridership grew by 5.7 in 2017.
The city was also using car sharing, from companies like Car2Go, which had 192,000 members in the city. One significant aspect of the change in the city’s behavior is that Car2Go announced it would stop operating in North America in 2020.