Uride will launch across smaller cities in B.C. by the end of the 2019, their CEO says. (Black Press Media)

New ride-hailing company to launch in Kelowna

The Thunder Bay-based company is currently looking for drivers

A new ride-hailing company is coming to B.C. communities left behind by the bigger players – but not Metro Vancouver.

Uride founder and CEO Cody Ruberto said the company has submitted an application to operate in all parts of the province, but will be focusing on smaller communities for now.

The Thunder Bay-based company is currently looking for drivers in Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George.

“We’re keeping an eye on Metro Vancouver but we’re currently running ads in those cities,” Cody Ruberto said.

Ruberto said he got the idea when he saw people in his hometown of Thunder Bay get left behind by ride-hailing.

“I would see people stranded with no rides, sometimes in -30 C weather,” he told Black Press Media by phone Thursday.

“I really wanted to solve this problem for Thunder Bay.”

READ MORE: B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Uride proved successful in Thunder Bay and Ruberto said soon other smaller communities were reaching out. Currently, the company operates throughout Ontario and in Winnipeg. It’s also looking to start operating in Saskatchewan.

Ruberto said the company’s aim is to curb impaired driving, especially in smaller cities where public transit isn’t always sufficient and taxis remain expensive.

He said teamwork is the key to making ride-hailing work in the small communities that giants like Uber and Lyft have passed by.

“Our drivers actually know each other and they all talk,” Ruberto said.

“We warn them in advance whenever theres a big night coming up.”

Although Uber and Lyft have expressed disappointment with B.C.’s Class 4 licensing requirement for ride-hailing, Ruberto said he’s not worried.

“We trust whatever the government has set,” he said.

“Just from speaking to our driver recruitment team, it hasn’t been that much of an issue”

Ruberto said he hopes to have Uride up and running in B.C. before the end of the year.

READ MORE: New ride-hailing app says it will operate across B.C.

READ MORE: Transportation minister outlines ‘widespread concerns’ about ride-hailing in B.C.

READ MORE: Nine Vancouver-area taxi companies ask B.C. Supreme Court to quash ride-hailing rules


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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