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Tofino-based Green Coast Ventures granted B.C.'s first ride-hailing licence – Vancouver Sun

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The new service will focus on Whister, Tofino resort communities


Dylan Green, seen in 2005 shortly after launching a since-sold bus line, is the name behind B.C.’s first ride-hailing licence.


Jeremy Koreski / PNG

It could be a Green Christmas for those awaiting ride-hailing in Whistler and Tofino during the holidays.

The Passenger Transportation Board on Monday announced it has approved an application from Green Coast Ventures to provide ride-hailing in the Lower Mainland, Whistler and Vancouver Island outside of the Capital Regional District.

The company says it will focus on the resort areas of Whistler-Squamish-Pemberton-Lillooet and Tofino-Ucluelet. Expansion plans include Courtenay-Mt. Washington and Parksville-Qualicum.

Uber and Lyft still await a decision from the transportation board.

Green Coast told the board that the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino gets about 25 ride-hailing requests a day, the Wolf in the Fog restaurant in Tofino gets about 30, while the Nicklaus North Golf Course at Whistler calls for more than 20 taxis a day but that even when phoning an hour ahead, taxi companies can’t meet the demand.

“First-year fleet size goals are 15 vehicles for (Tofino-Ucluelet) and 30 vehicles in (Whistler),” the board said in its decision to award Green Coast its licence.

“Green Coast relies on (founder Dylan) Green’s previous experience operating a transportation company and knowledge of resort communities to establish that it is fit, proper and capable.”

Green started Tofino Bus Services 16 years ago with one vehicle, growing to 30 by the time he sold his company to Wilson’s Group in 2018. He could not be reached to comment on when his service will be running.

The decision points to the “significant peaks and valleys” resort communities experience in transportation demands depending on tourist seasons and holidays, and noted Green Coast’s unique app, Whistle, which focuses on resort towns.

“Passengers may also choose to share their ride, aiming to reduce fares for locals who often have to commute from outside of town to work,” the company said in its application.

The board turned down an application from another company, LTG Technologies, to operate in the Capital Regional District and the rest of Vancouver Island, and in the Interior (Okanagan, Kootenays, Boundary and Cariboo).

“A business plan requires documentation on the market for the proposed product or service,” the board decision on LTG says. “The only market information contained in LTG’s business plan consists of a few references to the global market for ride sharing. There is no information on the market for ride-hailing in the areas in which LTG proposes to operate. … The directors of LTG do not have experience in operating a passenger transportation business.”

The decisions were made after a careful review of the extensive materials received during the application process which included the supporting information provided by the applicants and submissions from interested members of the public, which included information from experts, the board said.

The next step for Green Coast is to secure appropriate insurance and to work with municipalities to ensure compliance with local bylaws, the transport board said.

Claire Trevena, the transportation minister, said she welcomes the announcement.

“People want to see ride-hailing vehicles on the road as soon as possible,” she said. “We are hoping to hear of more decisions in the very near future.”

The transport board is an independent licensing tribunal and continues to review the remaining 22 ride-hailing applications that have been submitted to it so far, a spokesman said.

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

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COVID-19: Ontario case total dips below 2,500; Big-box blitz finds compliance wanting – Ottawa Citizen

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Ontario reported 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the lowest this daily total has been since Jan. 1.

The seven-day average for new cases in Ontario is now 3,035, and has declined every day in the last week from the record-high average of 3,555 reported Jan. 11.

There are 1,571 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario (an increase of one from the previous day), including 394 people in ICU (down one), with 303 on ventilators.

Twenty-four additional COVID-19 deaths were reported by the province.

Monday’s new case total includes 92 in Ottawa, according to Public Health Ontario. The confirmed case total rose by 36 in Eastern Ontario, four in Hastings Prince Edward, two in Renfrew County and District and one in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. There was no change to the pandemic case total in Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington.

In terms of active cases, Peel Region is currently the hardest-hit Ontario health unit with 416 cases per 100,000 people. It’s followed by Windsor-Essex (399), Niagara Region (328), Toronto (319) and Middlesex-London (234).

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Unifor approves $1 billion General Motors deal to build electric vans in Ontario – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Teachers’ Federation does not support schools staying open during red phase, district does

The New Brunswick Teachers’ Federation says it does not support keeping schools open during red phase, a change that took both teachers and district officials by surprise. The federation, which represents both anglophone and francophone teachers, said the province did not consult them before changing the rules. “This government’s decision was communicated to us only a few minutes before today’s press conference,” said the federation in a letter released yesterday. Minister of Education Dominic Cardy and Dr, Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, announced Sunday 36 new cases of COVID-19, a new single-day record. The cases include 24 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, or Zone 4, which is moving to the red phase. At the same news conference, Cardy said schools in Zone 4 will stay open under new phase-red guidelines. The guidelines previously said if a zone moved to the red phase, all non-essential businesses and schools must close. Cardy said students will be safe at school, even during phase red. The federation said it plans to address its concerns with Cardy, including asking how suddenly changing the rules could help “foster a climate of stability,” and how students, teachers and staff will be kept safe. Francophone North-West School District superintendent Luc Caron held a media conference Monday afternoon supporting the government’s decision. “[If] schools are open that means schools are safe and that is Public Health’s message that they’re sending out,” he said. “We will continue to do our best to give the kids the best education, best quality of service possible.” Caron said the new rules came as a surprise to the district as well. He said staff have been working on red-phase plans for months, but had to pivot when they learned that they will remain open in red. Caron said if parents want to keep their kids at home because they don’t feel safe, they are free to do that. But if they do, “they become the teacher.” He said he hopes parents will understand the district is keeping the students and staff safe by following Public Health guidelines of cleaning and masking. He said the district will step up active screening of school personnel, and screen employees on a daily basis. Extracurricular activities will be cancelled, and if employees or students experience only one symptom they are asked to stay home and get tested, he said. “We encourage our parents to take a look on our health measures in place and I hope they realize that means we are strict and our measures are safe,” he said. “We would invite them to bring back their kids to school.”

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GM investing $800M to build BrightDrop electric van in Canada plant – Fox Business

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General Motors has earmarked approximately $800 million to convert its CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, into an electric vehicle manufacturing facility.

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The factory, which currently produces the Chevrolet Equinox, will begin building electric vans for GM’s new BrightDrop division by the end of 2021, with the full transformation to electric vehicles scheduled for completion within two years.

GM also builds the Equinox in Mexico for U.S. sale, but has not announced its plans for making up for the lost Canadian production capacity.

GM last week announced the formation of the BrightDrop brand during a CES presentation when it revealed the purpose-built EV600 commercial van. The EV600 will use the automaker’s new Ultium electric vehicle platform and be followed by other models.

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FedEx was announced as the first customer for the EV600, which will have a range of 250 miles per charge and become widely available in 2022 at a yet to be announced price.

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CAMI is the fourth factory being converted electric vehicle production that GM has announced in recent weeks, following its Spring Hill. Tenn., Orion Township, Mich., and Detroit-Hamtramck facilities, the last of which has been renamed Factory ZERO.

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