Kelowna city’s Mayor Colin G. Basran stated that he feels disappointed that Canada’s transportation department has slowed a choice to let Uber have Okanagan operations. He does not understand why this delay has come from the Passenger Transportation Board. Basran understands the need for more options with regard to getting about in his community.
In its preliminary decision from April, the department adjourned the paperwork that Uber filed to expand its operations throughout the province. The department needs 3 to 6 more months to look into the effects of the coronavirus epidemic in Canada’s passenger transportation sector.
The department noted in its choice that the Investigator would offer it a report about the following.
- Whether the proposed service comes under the ‘public need’ category.
- Whether Uber’s application is likely to have any effects on the industry’s economic conditions, given how the coronavirus epidemic affects British Columbia’s economy.
As the world’s biggest ride-sharing service provider, Uber applied to extend its service in August last year. Basran stated that numerous people in British Columbia may visit the Okanagan, since the province no longer bans interprovincial travel. In that case, Basran said that tourists would only have limited transportation choices.
Basran knows that it would be a busy summer season in this part of the world. He reckons that it could record the busiest-ever tourism season in its history. As for him, Kelowna would be the preferred destination for not just western Canadians but also people from the whole nation. Therefore, he feels that a greater number of mobility options is imperative.
Kelowna City Council member Ryan Donn does not feel that the investigation is worthwhile. For your information, Donn has been an advocate of ride-hailing for a long time now. Further delays are uncalled for, said Donn. With regards to getting ride-sharing, Donn felt that Kelowna is many years behind almost all of the world’s major urban areas.
Describing Uber as a brand, the councilor said that people are aware of it as they arrive at Kelowna International Airport. Then, the councilor stated that the travelers could open Uber’s application and access a popular ride system, but they could not.
Donn described the lack of Uber’s service in Kelowna as a frustrating and embarrassing thing. He feels that the delay appears to be political, and that the requirement for transportation is not subject to COVID-19.
British Columbia’s taxi service providers have lobbied against Uber’s arrival in this province. Many of those companies have filed letters that oppose the prospect of Uber expanding its offerings to include the Okanagan. For those companies, it would not be in people’s interest to let Uber do so during the pandemic.
Basran understands the cause of the taxi industry’s opposition or apprehension. Anyhow, he opined that it is ultimately a solution that people would like to have, and that industries should adapt.
Uber said that Okanagan visitors and residents strongly demand ride-sharing solutions. When the province’s Restart Plan progresses, Uber said that it would be prepared to launch its ridesharing application in Kelowna. That move would offer not only flexible opportunity to earn money to drivers but also reliable and convenient travel options to the community.
In its application, Uber persuaded the department to avoid delaying the said expansion, since the coronavirus-related probe would lose practical significance once that investigation is released.
Following the department’s choice, Donn stated that he would like to find Uber’s ride-sharing solutions in a functioning state in the valley by Christmas.
Uber has been offering rides to customers in Greater Vancouver since early 2020, following a long-drawn dispute with the Canadian provincial government.