First ride-hail service approved

The Passenger Transportation Board has granted Richmond’s Kabu-Ride Inc. a licence for ride-hailing service in the Peace region and Northern Rockies.

The company gets a head start here over industry giants Uber and Lyft, which are already motoring in the Lower Mainland after given the green light last month.

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But how quickly Kabu hits regional streets will depend on how quickly it can get drivers into the market. The PTB noted in its decision that the launch in the northern region “could happen in 2021 or sooner, with an initial fleet size of 25 vehicles.”

Though the company is operating solely in the Greater Vancouver area at the present, officials say they are recruiting to service the regions recently approved by the PTB, which also include Fraser-Fort George, Bulkey Nechako, Kitimat-Stikine, and the North Coast.

“We need to have a critical mass of drivers,” said spokesman Martin van den Hemel.

Ride-hailing drivers in B.C. must hold either a Class 1, Class 2, or Class 4 commercial driver’s licence. Minimum rates will be set on a case by case basis, and are based on the taxi flag rates in a specific area, according to the PTB.

Kabu is open to working with local government and partnering with local taxi companies to roll out a ride-hailing system tailor-made to a community, van den Hemel said.

The parent company is Gokabu Group Holdings, founded in 2016 by Billy Xiong and Austin Zhang.

“I’m very happy we got the license and I want to thank the PTB for showing faith in our start-up company and its vision,” said Xiong, the company's president.

“We’ve been working really hard so that our drivers can get back on the road and start earning a living wage while serving our loyal customers.”

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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