Kabu is the first ride-hailing service to be approved by the Passenger Transportation Board in the Okanagan-Kootenays-Cariboo region. (Facebook)

KABU ridesharing company hopes to launch in Victoria in next three months

The company is the first to be approved to operate province-wide

A B.C. ridesharing company was granted its first win last week – the green light to hit roadways province-wide – but now it must overcome another major obstacle before picking up customers: hiring enough qualified drivers.

The Passenger Transportation Board approved KABU Ride Inc.’s application to operate in each region on Feb. 7, giving it a head start in expanding outside of the Lower Mainland over mega-ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft.

KABU is a subsidiary of Richmond-based ride-hailing service GoKabu, which was operating in the Richmond area without a licence for roughly three years, but temporarily shuttered services while awaiting provincial approval.

Martin Van den Hemel, KABU’s director of communications, said the plan is to officially launch in Metro Vancouver over the coming weeks while the company talks with business leaders and civic officials around B.C. to “gauge the level of interest” in ride-hailing.

ALSO READ: 5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing

“KABU hopes to launch in Victoria in the next three months, hopefully sooner,” Van dem Hemel told Black Press Media. “As far as the rest of the province, our launches will be determined by how quickly we can sign up qualified drivers to our platform.”

In its application to the transportation board, KABU said it planned to first begin operations in the Lower Mainland, Victoria and Nanaimo.

Van dem Hemel said the company is confident it will be operating in Kelowna by the summer. The company expects that 40 vehicles will be able to pickup customers in Kelowna and Kamloops by the end of 2020, according to its operating application.

Finding drivers who have at least a Class 4 licence may prove as the most difficult challenge in getting the company’s wheels in motion, Van dem Hemel admitted.

But once up and running, KABU will work differently than other ride-hailing services by allowing a customer to choose the language of their driver.

“So if there’s a customer who doesn’t speak English well, and would like a driver who speaks Spanish, for example, they’ll be able to choose that, provided we’ve got enough Spanish-speaking drivers,” Van dem Hemel said.

The company’s app, which isn’t yet available for download, will first offer services in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ride hailing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

Saanich students get on board Walking School Bus

Rogers Elementary students led by teachers and Saanich Police in new initiative

Fiddler on the Roof brings timely message to Oak Bay stage

Musical starts Friday in Dave Dunnet Theatre

City of Langford rebrands, announces several projects

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day in Victoria

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read