Uber Canada’s Mike van Hemmen speaks to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Thursday.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

Uber Canada’s senior manager in B.C. says the introduction of ridesharing in this province would be a “win-win-win” for all involved.

And Mike van Hemmen says it’s clear the public wants to see the service given more than 200,000 people have now downloaded his company’s app

Van Hemmem spoke at a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday and after explaining how Uber works, said he was pleased to hear a provincial legislative committee is being tasked with putting together recommendations for government that could see ridesharing introduced in B.C. starting next year.

“We’re very excited about the potential of bringing ridesharing and Uber to Kelowna and to be able to bring an additional transportation option that will work in collaboration with public transit and biking and walking and make our community much more pleasurable to live in,” he said.

Pressure has been growing on the province to allow ridesharing companies such as Uber to operate in B.C. and during the last provincial election, the NDP said if it won, ridesharing would be in place before the end of the year.

But it put the brakes on that promise after wrestling power from the former Liberal government, only to be pushed in that direction by the B.C. Green Party helping to prop up Premier John Horgan’s minority government.

In Kelowna, van Hemmen said Uber is now operating in 40 Canadian cities (all outside B.C.) and in the last three months provided 2.1 million rides. A total of 45,000 drivers made money through providing Uber services in that same length of time, he added.

Uber uses private vehicle owners to provide private taxi service accessible through an app on mobile devices that allow users to hail a ride. Drivers go through security checks and passengers know in advance about the driver and their rating by other Uber customers. They also have the ability to share their information about the driver and their trip with others in real time as an additional level of security.

Concern by the taxi industry has helped keep rideshare companies out of B.C. and van Hemmen said he sees ridesharing as just another transportation option, not one aimed at putting taxi companies out of business. In fact, he said, Uber’s busiest times are late at night when taxis are often hardest to find.

He also said U.S. research has shown people who like to rideshare are also more apt to use public transportation at other time.

The San Francisco-based company has also been piloting other ways of ridesharing such as uberPOOL, a service that lets unrelated customers on the same route share an Uber ride, thus reducing the cost for riders. And the company is testing automated driverless vehicles providing rides in some U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh.

As for making sure ridesharing is allowed in B.C., van Hemmen said that will be up to the public to make its choice heard by lobbying the provincial government.

Just Posted

Historic Hat Creek Ranch in state of uncertainty

B.C. government will proceed with public process to seek new site managers for Hat Creek

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Closures for Ashcroft Hospital over long weekend

Hospital will be closed for two shifts from May 18-20

Cache Creek council proposes 10% property tax increase, pool closure

Pool scheduled to close after 2019 season unless a funding source can be found

NHL star Eric Brewer to return to Ashcroft for public event

Olympic gold medallist and former Ashcroft resident comes back to his roots

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read