Uber has found another ally in Canada in the form of the Vancouver Board of Trade, which has come forward and said the province of British Columbia should work harder to adopt the ride-sharing company.
Not only does the Board of Trade think Vancouver should adopt the UberX service, which connects passengers with freelance drivers, the organization thinks the city needs the U.S. company. In a report released on Wednesday, the board points out that Vancouver has the lowest number of taxis per capita amongst Canadian cities and boasts among the highest fares.
The city is also the largest in North America to prevent Uber from operating in its limits, something the B.C. government is proud of. Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, slammed authorities while participating in the TED Talks Conference in Vancouver last week, and his company is now getting backing from the Board of Trade.
“High fare prices, poor customer service and long wait times have led to the growing public demand for new passenger transportation alternatives,” the report reads. “Greater Vancouver is in desperate need of new and innovating passenger transportation options.”
Vancouver’s Mayor, Gregor Robertson, has also said the city is willing to negotiate with Uber, but only if the company is willing to work with regulators for clear rules.
“The first step for regulating such services starts with the B.C. government’s Passenger Transportation Board and the Ministry of Transportation,” Mr. Robertson wrote in the Jan. 5 letter.
“We urge you to work with local governments in the region as well as the taxi industry and other key stakeholder groups to put in place regulations that enable ride-sharing while addressing the need for all companies to provide proper insurance, driver training, service for people with disabilities and meet environmental standards.”
Taxi drivers have been opposed to Uber’s expansion around Canada, but in Vancouver they are part of the problem, argues the Board of Trade. The group says taxi drivers have a monopoly, while a lack of competition has stifled the market and made poor customer care common. Taxi unions oppose Uber for what they perceive as unfair competition as the company operates without regulation in Canadian cities and drivers a not subjected to high license fees.