Business

Lyft granted ride-hailing license for Richmond

By Don Fennell

Published 12:38 PST, Fri January 24, 2020

Last Updated: 4:02 PST, Wed February 12, 2020

The long wait for ride-hailing services is over.

On the heels of Thursday’s approval by the BC Passenger Transportation Board to issue licenses to ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft for service in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, Richmond has issued an interim operating license (comparable to a taxi license) to Lyft as of Friday morning.

It means Lyft is free to legally pick up and drop off passengers in Richmond.

City spokesperson Clay Adams notes that TransLink’s Mayors’ Council has been tasked by Jan. 31 to develop an inter-municipal license that would permit ride-hailing companies to legally operate throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Squamish/Lillooet regional districts.

Jas Johal, Richmond-Queensborough MLA since 2017, has been a longtime advocate of ride hailing.

“It’s great news that ride hailing is moving forward in BC, and from that point I’m quite excited,” he says. “The challenge we’re going to have is the limited available pool of drivers.”

Ride-hailing services not only requires a big pool of drivers, but particularly when there are major events such as a Vancouver Canucks or BC Lions game, he explains.

“People work an average about 20 hours a week, and to guarantee drivers on busy days is going to be difficult,” he says. “This morning I tried an app and was told there was nothing available in my area.”

Johal recognizes the taxi industry will be affected by the arrival of ride-hailing services. He says some of their concerns, such as a level playing field when it comes to insurance are legitimate. But he says British Columbians, as in other jurisdictions and industries around the world, have embraced technology. The taxi industry must follow suit.

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