Vancouver to Get Uber Alternative – New App Works with Existing Taxis

Photo credit: public domain | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: public domain | Wikimedia Commons

Uber may or may not return to Vancouver one day. The taxi alternative with the nifty app operated briefly in 2012 before being forced to withdraw by provincial regulators (who imposed a $75 minimum charge on all rides).

In the meantime, however, a new option has emerged. Four existing Vancouver taxi companies have joined forces and are offering passengers an Uber-style app meant to take the pain out of booking and paying for a cab.

The new eCab system, scheduled to launch some time in May, has a lot in common with the Uber app. Passengers tap the app to summon a nearby cab from Blacktop, Vancouver Taxi, MacLure’s or Yellow Cab. They can track the taxi’s approach in real time on their smartphone to see how close it is.  Payment is all handled through the app so no money changes hands, and you can even rate drivers after your ride. 

Photo credit: Rob Hernandez | Flickr

Photo credit: Rob Hernandez | Flickr

Currently, the eCab system is used with about 7,700 taxis in Paris, as well as in other French cities and European capitals including Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. Local taxi companies in Vancouver have been eager to offer customers a streamlined smartphone experience in the face of potential competition from the likes of Uber and other ride-sharing services.

Of course, a big difference is that ECab works only within the existing taxi system in Vancouver. It won’t increase the number of cars for hire on the road or impact pricing models, as Uber has in other cities.

Photo credit: bull-doser | Wikipedia

Photo credit: bull-doser | Wikipedia

Meanwhile, the Uber saga in Vancouver continues. In November, city council put Uber’s latest application on hold. The local taxi industry additionally sought an injunction (later dropped), alleging the company planned to put unlicensed drivers on the road. But Uber, which is based in San Francisco and operates in hundreds of cities around the world, isn’t giving up on Vancouver yet. Earlier this month, representatives met for discussions with Vancouver city officials, as well as taxi companies and tourism and hospitality representatives.

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2 Responses to Vancouver to Get Uber Alternative – New App Works with Existing Taxis

  1. We’re already up and running and can get you a cab throughout the lower mainland!

    Give us a try and let us know how it goes.

  2. shaan

    All taxi company selling license in the name of share.share value now days $500,000 to $800,000 in lowemainland and Vancouver but when taxi company sell share why they are not paying tax why ptb and cra closing there eye.where tax money is going.