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First ride-hailing application approved by B.C. transportation board
VANCOUVER -- With less than three weeks left in 2019, B.C.'s independent Passenger Transportation Board has approved its first-ever ride-hailing application.
On Monday, the board announced it has granted a licence for Green Coast Ventures Inc. to operate in the Lower Mainland, Whistler and anywhere on Vancouver Island outside of the Capital Regional District.
But the company is only expected to operate in Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish, Tofino and Ucluelet during its first year, according to the board's decision.
"Green Coast expects to have some future presence in the Lower Mainland but mainly expects to respond to the transportation demands of the smaller communities so that return trips are possible," it reads.
The company – which lists the operating names Whistle, WhistleRide and Whistle Ride Co. in its application – has a goal of getting 15 vehicles on the island and 30 in the Sea to Sky corridor during that first year.
It still needs to get the appropriate insurance from ICBC before launching, and it's unclear if it will be up and running by year's end.
"Questions concerning the potential launch date should be referred directly to the company," the board said in a statement on its website.
There does not appear to be a website set up for the company yet.
It's unclear why Green Coast Ventures' application was the first one approved. B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena directed questions about the process, including whether any more companies will be approved this year, to the board.
"Like everyone, I'm anticipating the Passenger Transportation Board, which is independent, is working through these applications diligently. They know there's a huge appetite," Trevena said Monday.
Another ride-hailing application from a company called LTG Technologies Ltd., which listed the trade name Lucky to Go, was declined. The board cited the directors' lack of experience in the passenger transportation business and vague business plan for the decision.
The board is still reviewing applications from 22 other companies, including Uber and Lyft.
Asked about the single licence approval Monday, Uber said the company is looking forward to receiving a licence of its own "as soon as possible."
"Metro Vancouver residents and visitors want Uber now to help them travel around the region," a spokesperson said in an email.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan