Skip to main content

Uber approved to begin operating outside Lower Mainland in B.C.


More than three years after it began operating in Metro Vancouver, ride-hailing giant Uber has received approval to operate elsewhere in British Columbia.

The province's Passenger Transportation Board announced Wednesday that it had approved an application from ReRyde Technologies Inc. to transfer its licence to Uber Canada Inc.

The PTB approved Uber to operate in Region 1 of the province – the Lower Mainland and Whistler – in late-January 2020.

ReRyde applied at that time to operate in Regions 2 (Capital Regional District), 3 (Vancouver Island outside the CRD), 4 (Okanagan–Kootenay-BoundaryCariboo) and 5 (everywhere else in the province). Its initial application was rejected, but a subsequent one was approved in August 2020.

Wednesday's approval will allow Uber to assume ReRyde's licence to operate in the specified regions, though the company has said it intends to start by operating only in the Victoria and Kelowna areas.

As a condition of its approval, Uber must provide the PTB three months' notice if it plans to begin offering ride-hailing service in Region 3 or Region 5.

Uber Canada celebrated the news on its Twitter account, claiming "tens of thousands" of people in Kelowna and Victoria have signed up to ride, and that it plans to launch "soon."


In its 60-page decision on the matter, the PTB said the application "generated significant interest from the industry." 

The board received more than 40 submissions during its review, with all but seven of them opposed to the application.

Supporters included Victoria International Airport, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, Destination Greater Victoria, MADD Canada, BC Tech and Harbour Air.

Uber also submitted letters of support from the mayors of Victoria, Langford and Kelowna in its application package.

Opposed to the move were taxi drivers' unions from across the province, as well as smaller ride-hailing companies that had already been approved to operate in the regions into which Uber sought to expand.

The board notes in its decision that "a common theme" among opponents was a feeling that Uber was attempting to circumvent an earlier PTB decision denying its request to expand its existing licence to regions other than Region 1.

The PTB denied that request in December 2021.

It declined to deny the latest application, however, concluding that Uber is "a fit and proper" provider capable of delivering the proposed service.

"The (Passenger Transportation) Act expressly allows for the transfer of licences," the board wrote in its decision.

"It does not preclude a licenceholder, whose previous application to amend its existing licence was denied, from seeking out another licenceholder and pursuing the transfer process provided for by section 30 of the act. There is no merit to the suggestion that the application is improper, brought for an improper purpose, or is otherwise an abuse of process."

While the end result was that Uber received the same approval it had previously been denied, the board wrote that "there is nothing unlawful, improper, or otherwise objectionable to Uber exhausting the options available under the act." Top Stories

Stay Connected