Uber Canada general manager of cities Michael van Hemmen speaks to members of the group Probus in South Surrey/White Rock on Wednesday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Not giving up: Uber exec to promote ride-sharing at UBCM

A general manager of the company’s Canada arm was on his way to the annual municipalities’ convention

Uber’s fight to bring its ride-sharing services to B.C. is far from over.

A senior executive for Uber Canada told a group of businessmen in the Lower Mainland on Wednesday about the message he’ll promote with municipal politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week.

Michael van Hemmen, the general manager of cities for Uber Canada, spoke to the Probus club, a group of professional and retired businessmen in South Surrey and White Rock about the ins and outs of the company that is now available in more than 70 countries, but not the province of B.C.

Prior to his presentation, van Hemmen requested that Peace Arch News not report on what he told the group so that he could be more “colourful” with his remarks. Instead, he offered to do an interview after the one-hour discussion.

“Ride-haring can be a productive part of the transportation mix in B.C. communities – the same with bikes,” he said. “Bike-sharing with our Jump bikes can be part of a sustainable option, sustainable alternative for driving yourself.

“I think what we see is ridesharing being one option people have when people want to get from A to B. Others, like bike sharing, is an option as well where you’re able to get a on a Jump bike and stretch your legs.”

After the Clark Liberal government committed to allowing ridesharing services such as Uber by the end of 2017, the NDP government announced in July that it will not license companies until at least fall of 2019, but will move towards updating its taxi regulations for the new era of smartphone-based ride hailing by adding new taxi licences.

TransLink has been strongly in favour of rideshare services coming to B.C., said van Hemmen, and that Uber hopes the province is able and willing to engage with the company to move more quickly.

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