With the provincial government due to bring forward legislation in the fall to permit ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in BC, options for public transportation should increase. Whether the impact will reach as far as the Sunshine Coast is yet to be determined, but one company is already recruiting.
Kater Technologies has been allowed to operate a test of ride-hailing operations within the Vancouver area for the last few months. Company CEO Scott Larson said “Kater has plans to expand to other districts outside the Lower Mainland. As ride-hailing is rolled out across the province, Kater will be announcing their regional expansion goals. We are actively encouraging all those drivers interested in being a part of our operations to visit Kater.com and start the driver application process.”
Kater drivers provide rides using their own vehicles, which are subject to company approval and inspections. Drivers must be over the age of 19 years and hold a valid Class 4 or higher BC driver’s licence. They must pass a criminal record and vulnerable sector check, as well as provide proof of eligibility to work in Canada. Kater reviews applicants’ driving abstracts and insurance claim history.
“It will be very interesting to see what happens when the new ride hailing legislation comes into effect,” said Michele Morton, co-founder and CEO of Share-There Enterprises. Share-There has operated a successful platform for Sunshine Coast residents to plan ride-sharing since 2014. .
Public transportation on the Coast faces challenges, with a population of about 30,000 residing a geographic area of 1,458 square miles. BC Transit operations on the Coast are limited to between 5am to midnight and on set routes. Local taxi companies focus services mainly on the communities and commercial areas of Gibsons and Sechelt. This lack of transportation options for Coast residents inspired Morton and her husband to create Share-There.
“Our focus is on reducing single occupancy vehicle use rather than on providing a taxi service. People can use our website (share-there.com) to offer or request free rides to events or other activities or locations,” said Morton.
“Free ride sharing means that a driver’s normal insurance covers their passengers in the same way it does when driving a friend or family member. Once a fee is charged, especially to make a profit, there are different licensing requirements and insurance or liability issues,” explained Morton.
As a for-profit company providing transportation services, Kater’s fare structure will be set by the province’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB). The cost of a Kater ride will begin at $3.35. There are additional charges of 57 cents per minute that the ride takes, and $1.93 per kilometer travelled.