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Kelowna’s Uber hopes dashed by transportation board COVID-19 inquiry — for now

Passenger Transportation Board puts Uber’s application to expand on hold

It looks like Uber won’t be coming to Kelowna anytime soon.

After submitting its application to the Passenger Transportation Board in August 2020 to allow it to operate provincewide, Uber expected to be operational in the Central Okanagan by Christmas 2020.

However, complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed that decision down the line. In April, the board put Uber’s application on hold pending an investigation of the “significant impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic on the passenger transportation industry, which could take up to six months.

“The investigator will provide a report to the board regarding whether there is a public need for the service proposed… and whether the [application] may have any potential impacts on sound economic conditions in the passenger transportation industry given the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the B.C. economy more broadly,” reads the board’s April 20 preliminary decision.

Uber argued the investigation is not necessary because it would be “moot” by the time it was released.

Submissions to the board from B.C. taxi companies, including several with operations in the Okanagan, stated allowing Uber to begin its operations “during this health crisis is not in the public interest.”

Uber, after a lengthy fight with the province, has been operating in the Vancouver area since early 2020.

READ MORE: Uber looking to come to Kelowna

READ MORE: Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

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