An Ontario-based ride-hailing company wants to be operating in Kamloops by the end of the year.
Uride has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board to begin operating in B.C. and is targeting five communities — Kamloops, Kelowna, Victoria, Prince George and Nanaimo.
Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Uride requires its drivers to have a commercial class 4 license — a requirement under B.C.’s new rules that has soured larger companies Uber and Lyft from focusing outside Metro Vancouver.
Uride, however, specializes in serving smaller Canadian cities, where residents don’t have access to the vast public transportation networks that are available in major cities.
“A lot of the mid- and small-market communities, they get a bit left out when it comes to ride sharing,” Cody Ruberto, founder and chief executive officer of Uride, told KTW.
Ruberto said the B.C. cities Uride is focusing on were chosen because they are similar to the mid-sized communities in which the company now operates.
Uride submitted its application to the Passenger Transportation Board on Sept. 3 and the province, Ruberto said, informed the company it will be four to eight weeks before officials finish evaluating and start approving ride-hailing companies to operate.
In the meantime, Uride has been recruiting drivers, including in the Kamloops market.
A launch date will be set once Uride has enough drivers signed up and it receives provincial approval, Ruberto said, adding he has no set threshold for the number of drivers needed to be operational in Kamloops.
“The more drivers we have, the shorter the wait times will be,” he said.
Ruberto said the number of drivers will depend on how many are part-time and how many are full-time employees.
Ruberto said recruitment has been “going pretty well in every city we’ve announced we’re expanding to.”
He said Uride is looking for as many drivers as possible.
Kamloops residents wishing to drive for Uride must obtain a class 4 licence and can apply to join the company online at uridetech.com.
“It’s [class 4] an extra step for people to take to start driving, so definitely that’s a hurdle, but at the same time, out of the people who have applied to this point, my team has been telling me the class 4 hasn’t been a major issue,” Ruberto said.
He started the company two years ago in his hometown of Thunder Bay and has since expanded to Sudbury, North Bay and Chattam-Kent in Ontario and to Winnipeg.
Uride operates like any other ridehailing service, with users able to order, track their driver and pay for their ride through the company’s app, which can be downloaded on to smartphones.
Uride and fellow ride-hailing service Kater have applied to the Passenger Transportation Board with the intent to begin operating in Kamloops specifically.
Companies having committed to the Passenger Transportation Board region that includes Kamloops include TappCar and Lucky To Go.