From Slate:

Unlike every other major North American metro area, the Vancouver region doesn’t allow ride-hailing. That makes Vancouver a unique example of what happens when a thriving North American city politely—this is Canada—passes on the ride-hail bandwagon. The result: Vancouver’s public transit system is adding riders even as usage drops in many other cities. Bike commuting is growing, and car-share services like Car2Go are booming. …

So how have Vancouverites handled the lack of ride-hailing?

Well, their city has hardly ground to a halt. The percentage of Vancouverites who commute to work by walking, cycling, or transit rose from 57 percent in 2013 to 59 percent in 2017. During that time, the share of commute trips by bicycle jumped by about 50 percent as Vancouver rolled out investments like a network of protected downtown bike lanes. TransLink, the regional transit authority, grew ridership by 5.7 percent in 2017, easily the fastest rate in North America. Andrew McCurran, TransLink’s director of strategic planning and policy, says ridership rose even faster in 2018, by 6.7 percent. Remarkably, a major driver was TransLink’s bus ridership, which rose by 7.3 percent last year. …

With ride-hailing’s arrival looming, Vancouver has much at stake. As the last North American holdout, the region has built a robust mobility network that would be the envy of most cities. It’s possible that ride-hailing could augment that network, providing late-night service and reliable transportation options for residents in outer suburbs, while giving local taxis some healthy competition. But the technology could also bring the less desirable kind of disruption to Vancouver, increasing congestion while taking passengers away from clean and efficient modes like transit and biking. Which way will Vancouver go? We’ll know soon enough.



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