With the Passenger Transportation Board approving Uber and Lyft in Metro Vancouver on Thursday, it could be just days until the ride hailing services arrive in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall expects an announcement next Friday on a regional licencing system for ride-hailing services.
“I’m anticipating that it’s all going to come together. It will make things a lot better for everybody in the Metro Vancouver area,” Dingwall said.
Metro Vancouver mayors voted in December to fast-track a regional business licence, with an initial deadline of the end of January.
Once the licence is approved by Metro Vancouver mayor’s council, each city will have to vote on if it will take part.
A Jan. 28 Maple Ridge report, says that staff will present a bylaw for the regional business licensing system to council in February and notes the bylaw pertains to a business licence only, while regulation of the ride-hailing business is a provincial matter.
Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said Friday that people need the additional service “and we welcome the added option.”
He added that the local taxi service can’t keep up with the demand at times. “Of particular importance, is getting people home safely after a drink or two.”
Morden added that so far, no Uber or Lyft services are available in Maple Ridge and there’s some concern ride hailing services may not be attracted here. But he added that he’s heard that both companies want to serve this area, while it’s been challenging for some drivers to get a Class 4 licence.
“My sense from Maple Ridge residents is, they generally support the additional options and are itching to get going,” he said.
Bylaws manager Michelle Orsetti said that ride hailing companies can operate in Maple Ridge if they have a business licence but that she’s not aware of any companies operating here.
The licencing system also means that each city will get a share of revenue from rides within its border, Dingwall added.
“I think it’s just a brand new service to the Metro Vancouver area. It’s going to be a really good service for all of us,” Dingwall said.
Some cities are looking at designating only certain areas for ride hailing pickup and dropoff can take place, but Pitt Meadows isn’t one of them, Dingwall said, adding that’s being done for reasons of congestion.
He expects the service to begin once the licencing system is in place.
Both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge councils earlier wrote to Premier John Horgan asking that the service be implemented.
“Let’s get it going as fast as possible,” Coun. Ahmed Yousef said Friday.
Maple Ridge’s letter from December 2018, noted that “with a population of close to 83,000 citizens spread across 147.5 square kilometers, Maple Ridge is a large and dispersed suburban community.
“Due to limited taxi and public transit service, citizens are often left waiting hours for transportation. This creates a barrier for some resident in accessing local business, community services and local activities that are integral to a vibrant community. It also makes it more difficult for people enjoying a night out to find a safe ride home.”