The province’s Passenger Transportation Board has rejected applications from two companies seeking to establish ride-hailing services in the Kamloops area.
The rejection of Kater Technologies and ReRyde Technologies came on Thursday, the same day the PTB approved applications from Uber and Lyft’s to enter the Lower Mainland and Whistler markets.
The board received numerous submissions from third parties on both applications.
Both Kami Cabs and Yellow Cabs filed submissions to the PTB in response to the Kater application, while only Yellow Cabs filed a submission in response to the ReRyde bid. The contents of those submissions are not part of the decision documents. KTW is awaiting a call back from the PTB on its reaquest to read the taxi companies' submissions.
The BC Federation of Labour weighed in on both applications, while the cities of Burnaby, Delta and Richmond filed submissions in response to Kater’s application, which, along with ReRyde's, also included operating in the Lower Mainland. The City of Kamloops did not file a submission.
As part of its application, Vancouver-based Kater stated it would set its pricing at a minimum of 90 per cent and a maximum of 200 per cent of current taxi rates.
“This attends to consumer concerns over surge pricing and addresses ... concerns over equal economic conditions for existing stakeholders,” Kater wrote, adding it believes in providing a living wage and fair compensation for drivers.
“Assuming pricing in the B.C. market is maintained, our projections call for Kater drivers to earn at least $25 for every hour that they are active on the Kater platform. We would encourage the board to insist on fair compensation for all ride-hailing drivers throughout the province.”
However, in rejecting the application, the PTB said Kater’s business plan and 36-month cash projections were “incongruous and unrealistic” and its projected revenue from net ride commissions “overly optimistic.”
The board said Kater has not accounted for market competition, has not has taken steps to establish partnerships or other relationships with taxi companies in order to obtain market share, has underestimated costs and has not provided information on how it will be able to pay drivers $25 per hour.
“Given the board’s concerns about Kater’s business plan and associated financial projections and the disconnect between them, the board is not satisfied that Kater is currently capable of carrying out the proposed services,” the PTB concluded. “The evidence Kater provided to the board does not support a conclusion that it has the overall infrastructure to provide care and control of its drivers and vehicles and the management and financial resources to provide the ride hailing services it has proposed to provide.”
In rejecting the Richmond-based ReRyde application, the PTB cited its business plan, which focuses on the technological aspects of its app. The board said the company “fails to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the passenger transportation business in this province.”
The PTB also expressed concerns about ReRyde’s management capability.
“ReRyde’s business plan states that it currently has 3,700 drivers operating outside of B.C.” the board stated. “The company’s current proposal for B.C. would undoubtedly require more drivers and vehicles to be operating under ReRyde’s management. There is only limited information provided by ReRyde regarding the initial hiring of drivers and inspection of vehicles.”
The Passenger Transportation Board is an independent licensing tribunal mandated to make decisions on applications relating to passenger directed vehicles in British Columbia, including ride-hailing authorizations.
The PTB has received 29 ride-hailing applications to date and has issued decisions on six of them. The board said the review process is taking time because of the large number of applications that have been filed and the significant volume of materials involved.
In fall 2018, the provincial government passed the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act permitting ride-hailing companies to apply to the PTB to enter the B.C. market. Subsequent regulations require ride-hail drivers to hold a Class 4 driver's licence and undergo a vulnerable sector check, the most stringent type of police information check.