Vancouver’s Uber is moving fast to build its own self-driving truck company
Vancouver is on the verge of a new kind of ride sharing service, and one that could provide a more competitive alternative to the current taxi industry.
Uber has signed a lease to lease out a fleet of trucks to an unnamed private owner, and will offer them for rental as well.
“We want to give them a platform to do the things they need to do,” said Uber spokesperson Alex Wurman.
“And we want to do it in a way that allows us to deliver a great experience.”
The move is one of many in the world’s largest economy that could see Uber take over the transportation sector.
Uber is already the dominant driver in Vancouver, with drivers driving for more than 80 per cent of the city’s taxi and limousine fleets.
The company is also making waves around the world, with it’s drivers being asked to drive in Uber-branded taxis and in Uber’s self-serve taxi-hailing service.
Uber also has a growing presence in London, which is already a hub for the ride-hail services Uber and Lyft.
The move comes as Vancouver’s city council prepares to consider whether to regulate Uber’s growth as a private operator.
The city’s Taxi Commission is expected to vote on a motion in November, which could allow Uber to continue operating.
The issue is a big one for the city, with the number of trips being booked through its UberX service soaring to more than 1 million per day.
In recent weeks, city council has been discussing whether to allow the ride service to operate as a non-profit organization.
The council also wants to set up a licensing process for the new company, but a new company will need a licence to operate.
Uber says it will seek to apply for an operator’s licence within the next three months.
The taxi industry has been a battleground for taxi drivers in Vancouver for years.
In 2014, Uber was forced to pay $2.4 million in fines for using its service to collect fares illegally, but it’s now in a similar position with city council.
“I’m really looking forward to this,” said Ryan Valkenburg, who was one of Uber’s first drivers in the city.
“The way it’s structured, we’re basically the taxi drivers, we are the operators.
That’s where we want the biggest chunk of the business.”
Uber has been criticized for operating a taxi service that has attracted drivers who may be less likely to report unsafe practices, but Valkenberg said the company’s goal is to help improve safety for everyone.
“They are not going to be out there doing things that would hurt the drivers,” he said.
The mayor of the municipality where Valkeston grew up, Paul Godfrey, said the council is considering allowing Uber to operate in the area as a licensed company, a move he said could help improve public safety.
The industry is looking at other ways to compete, including using self-drive trucks to provide a cheaper alternative to taxis.
“What we are doing is putting forward a vision of what the future looks like,” Godfrey said.
“There are lots of different solutions that could be brought to market, but there’s a real need for an autonomous truck service.”
The city council will consider the motion on Nov. 28.