Hybrid ride-sharing model coming to Richmond

Uride, an Ontario-based ridesharing company, is preparing their paperwork to enter the market in Richmond and other cities in B.C. this fall.

Cody Ruberto, Uride founder and CEO, said they are excited to expand into B.C. and that “it is an important step (in their) mission to prevent impaired driving across Canada.”

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The Canadian ridesharing company boasts their unique hybrid business model, when compared to other companies like Uber and Lyft.

“A combination of between taxi and ridesharing is (used) where we have some drivers who are scheduled and work full shifts to make sure there’s always coverage and then we have other drivers who work on and off with demand to help during those peaks hours,” said Ruberto.

Under new provincial guidelines, people who are interested in becoming drivers for ridesharing companies have to obtain a Class 4 commercial license – the same as taxi and limo drivers – and go through a background check.

This doesn’t deter Uride from expanding to B.C.

Ruberto told the News that they have experience operating in highly regulated markets and that they will “follow the legislation that is put in place” in B.C.

“Despite Class 4 licensing, we can make a difference in preventing impaired driving,” said the CEO.

Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough said that he has always “maintained the level playing field for ride-hailing and taxis,” but “what Class 4 is going to do is it’s going to force these ride hailing companies to fight over those (taxi) drivers.”

He added that with the legislation, the Class 4 requirement specifically, ride-hailing will be weakened, but the taxi industry will be weakened as well because it will now have to look for drivers.

“There's no doubt in my mind that those Class 4 drivers that worked for the taxi industry are now going to go work for Uber, Lyft, (Uride) and other ride-hailing companies as well,” said Johal.

Johal is excited to hear that a new ride-hailing company wants to work in Richmond and the Lower Mainland adding that “great competition and greater availability of ride-hailing is a plus for Richmond residents.”

“I think the more competition we have, the better this service will be, and I think that's wonderful,” said Johal.

Uride was founded in Thunder Bay, Ont. in 2017 and has since become Canada’s fastest-growing rideshare company.

The company is currently operating in five cities across Ontario and Manitoba – Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, North Bay and Chatham Kent.

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