VICTORIA – Earlier this month, Destination Greater Victoria publicly supported Uber‘s application for a licence transfer through the Passenger Transportation Board to operate in Greater Victoria. There has been a consortium of partners working on transportation options this year, including the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria and the Victoria Chapter of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association. We are also aware that two of our major infrastructure and gateway partners – Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Victoria International Airport, are supportive. We are grateful for their partnership. It is forged by a common and urgent need for better service choice.
Why is Destination Greater Victoria supportive of Uber’s application? Last spring, we received extensive feedback from hospitality workers about a lack of late night and early morning transportation options, including shortfalls in taxi services. From our customers we have also received many complaints about the poor state of taxi service in Greater Victoria.
For example, there are widespread issues about very few to no taxis at Victoria International Marina, the Victoria Conference Centre, and other locations, particularly downtown, at key periods. This directly affects our reputation with vital partners such as meeting planners and travel media – segments that drive considerable business needed for recovery. We are aware of practices from taxis such as refusing smaller fares in favour of larger fares, which are not permitted but are nevertheless becoming commonplace. We need first-rate and reliable transportation service levels in a world-class destination such as ours.
Uber has a strong track-record of service and is active within many other Canadian jurisdictions. Uber is accessible for 19 million Canadians across 140 municipalities, with tens of thousands of drivers and millions of consumers regularly using the app. There has been a very strong rebound in the visitor economy following the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are no longer any economic or competition reasons for excluding Uber. As visitation has recovered and grown in Greater Victoria, so has demand for Uber.
Visitors (as well as residents) expect to be able to access a branded rideshare option within a modern, major destination such as Greater Victoria. Over the past ten years, Greater Victoria has received numerous accolades from major travel publications and media outlets including Condé Nast Traveler CNN and Travel & Leisure. To maintain this reputation as a world-class destination, Greater Victoria must continue to evolve and meet visitors’ expectations for safe, reliable, courteous, and affordable ridesharing options.
Paul Nursey is the President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria