The only ride hailing company approved for operations across B.C. is looking to expand and Salmon Arm could be included if enough interest is shown.
On Friday, Feb. 7, the Passenger Transportation Board approved Apt Rides to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler while also approving Kabu Ride Inc. to operate province-wide. According to Martin van den Hemel, communications director for GoKabu, KabuRide’s mother company, Kabu is hoping to start expanding service from Richmond out to Victoria then to Kelowna and Kamloops.
Hemel went on to say that if enough Salmon Arm residents expressed interest in working for Kabu and community support was strong enough, the company could launch in a matter of weeks.
“What we’re hoping to do is hear from the civic leaders in each of these communities,” Hemel said. “We really want to work alongside them and with them. They will have the local knowledge that we don’t have, they’ll have a better understanding of what will work and what will not work.”
Due to the company’s limited outreach resources, Kabu asks that communities interested in ride sharing reach out to them. To plan around what the community needs, Kabu is asks for information such as a community’s population, how many people would be interested in working for Kabu and how many people would be interested in using ride hailing services.
Kabu has also expressed interest in partnering with local taxi companies and other means of public transportation as well as public transit.
Salmon Arm’s deputy mayor Debbie Cannon believes the potential for ridesharing in Salmon Arm is worth consideration from city council.
“I think there is always an opportunity for it to be introduced here because we have limited numbers of taxis that operate in our town,” said Cannon. “If you talk to anyone at Christmas time or different events when everyone is trying to get a taxi at the same window of time, it’s hard to get them.”
Cannon went on to question if ride sharing would stay viable for day-to-day transportation and not just during bigger events, but said she would discuss the possibility at the city’s next council meeting.
Cannon was of the belief that Salmon Arm might be too small a community to attract ride-hailing companies, but in light of Kabu’s hopeful expansion she is starting to think differently.
“Maybe it’s sooner on the horizon than we think,” she said.
While no date has been set yet, Kabu said they expect to begin operations in the Okanagan soon. For more information on Kabu, you can visit the company’s website.