Residents of Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada will soon be able to use a ride-hailing app on their smartphones with the launch of B.C.-based service Kater, the first ride-hailing service to roll out in the province ahead of Uber and Lyft.
According to a report from the Toronto Star, Kanter's service is expected to launch March 30 in the city. Interested customers can register for a chance to test the service through the company's app. Kater will be rolling out with a soft launch of 140 cars in the coming weeks, which will be outfitted with cameras and can be tracked through the mobile app. During the launch, users of the app can be picked up in Vancouver and dropped off anywhere else in the province.
According to a statement from the company's CEO Scott Larson, Kater owns all of its own vehicles, which are "brand new" and insured by the company. Drivers for Kater must be at least 19 years old, have a license required for a chauffeur's permit plus other certifications, and undergo extensive training before hiring.
In light of Kater’s launch, a coalition of business groups and non-profits like the BC Tech Association, BC Chamber of Commerce and the BC Epilepsy Society criticized the provincial government because it promised an even playing field for major ride-hailing competitors like Uber and Lyft. Statements from the coalition claim that the company's services do not address the need for more transportation options across the province.
British Columbia's transportation minister Claire Trevena put forward legislation in the fall of 2018 that would enable companies like Uber and Lyft to provide ride-hailing services. The B.C. government has said that other ride-hailing companies will be able to enter the market later this year.
Source: The Toronto Star (Vancouver)