VICTORIA — Ride-hailing company Uber’s application to expand service in B.C. beyond Metro Vancouver and Whistler has been denied.

The Passenger Transportation Board says it has reviewed evidence showing a decline in demand for passenger transportation services across B.C. since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

The board had granted Uber approval to operate in the Lower Mainland on Jan. 23, 2020.

It says in its decision posted Wednesday that taxi recovery from the pandemic in the Lower Mainland has been further hampered by more ride-hailing, which has assumed a significant share of the market at the expense of taxis. 

The board says granting Uber’s application at this time would “unduly harm” existing ride-hailing companies in regions outside the Lower Mainland and those areas are unable to absorb more competition. 

While it found Uber to be “fit and proper” to deliver transportation services, the board says it’s not convinced there is a public need for Uber’s service in the rest of the province. 

“Further, the Board considers that the application, if granted at this time, would not promote sound economic conditions in the passenger transportation business in B.C,” it said.

Prior to the pandemic and launch of Uber in the region, the board said there were 1,017,921 taxi trips in January 2020.

The following month, it said taxi trips fell to 849,520, while ride-hailing trips were about 420,425. 

By May 2021, ride-hailing trips in the region surpassed one million, while taxi trips had risen only 589,328. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press