Excitement, concern as Kelowna gets ready for ride-sharing

While many Kelowna residents are excited to get more transportation options with the announcement that ride-sharing is coming to the province, there are some that are concerned with safety and regulations.

Minster Todd Stone announced on Tuesday the province is taking steps to introduce companies like Uber and Lyft in time for the holiday season in December. He also announced changes and investments to the taxi-industry that the province hopes will level the playing field and make taxis competitive.

Resident Kate Nestibo says she's in favour of ride-sharing finally coming to B.C. because it will add more ways to get a ride in Kelowna.

“It can be hard to get a cab here, so anything that adds to that is a bonus in my opinion” she says.

Resident Don Ferguson says he's used ride-sharing apps before and is happy to see it make its way here.

“I think the Uber thing is a good idea. I’ve travelled with it in different cities around the country and they’re quick and they’re a little bit less expensive than your regular taxi ride, so I’m for it”

The owner of a Kelowna based designated driving service is also welcoming the news. Paul Nesbitt, Owner of Designated Driver Dads says ride-sharing companies will give more options for safe rides home.

“I’m all for it,” he says “I’m for as many people that aren’t drinking to be able to drive people that are, as much as possible cause there’s lots of people that drive around, probably, under the influence during the day, so as much as they can get help and get rides, I’m all for it”

However some residents are worried about whether ride-sharing will be safe and regulated the same way as taxis.  

Resident Justin Dalton says he’s generally in support of the steps the province is taking, as long as taxi drivers and ride-sharing drivers follow the same rules.

“My one concern is that it’s properly regulated, and that there’s the same regulations that are on the taxi industry also have them on Uber and Uber drivers,” he says “If it provides more choice and possibly more competitive pricing, I would be in support of that”

Ilya Parkins is also concerned with ridesharing coming here, but for different reasons. She's opposed to what she calls Uber's bad track record.

“I think that they have brought this kind of culture of precious work to people and they’ve been sued in the UK,” she says “They also have a really bad safety track record, they’re not great on taxes, so no, I’m not a huge fan”

Local taxi companies are not commenting on the announcement. Checkmate Cab and Current Taxi says it won’t comment at this time while Kelowna Cabs has yet to respond to a request for comment.