Uber starts mapping routes in Metro Vancouver in anticipation of approval
But no sign yet when or if ride-hailing services will be approved by province
Uber is betting on B.C.'s provincial government to approve ride-hailing services by the end of this year as it starts a month-long mapping project in Metro Vancouver.
Starting today, the company is sending 25 Uber mapping cars across the Metro Vancouver region to gather data on ideal pick-up and drop-off locations and the optimal routes for riders and drivers.
The popular app has yet to be approved by the B.C. government — and it's been the subject of considerable political tension.
Advocates say the service gives extra options to consumers and a source of extra income to drivers, but opponents say the service will decimate the existing taxi industry.
In March, the then-Liberal government announced ride-hailing services would be introduced by December — contingent on it forming government after the May election.
The B.C. NDP also supported the introduction of ride-hailing services by the end of the year, but it advocated new rules need to be created to ensure a fair approach to ride-sharing.
That uncertainty isn't stopping Uber, however.
Ramit Kar, the general manager for Uber's Western Canada division, says the project reflects his company's optimism the ride-hailing services will be approved by the end of the year.
He said British Columbians are clamouring for the service and the company will do everything to make that a reality.
"We're going to continue to advocate to make sure there are strong and smart ride-sharing rules that come to British Columbia and so that British Columbians can have more choice both on the side of getting more safe rides home as well as use this as an extra earning opportunity," he said.
Uber says B.C. is one of the last places in North America that doesn't have its ride-hailing service.
With files from Angela Sterritt