Kelowna’s second ride hailing company launches Saturday; more Interior cities soon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna’s second ride hailing company launches Saturday; more Interior cities soon

KABU will start its Kelowna service on Saturday.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE/KABU
July 28, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Kabu will quietly launch its new ride hailing service in Kelowna on Saturday, following its opening in Kamloops on July 1.

And it’s inviting leaders in other Okanagan cities to invite them into their communities.

“If we see proactive outreach from these cities – whether it’s Vernon, whether it’s Coldstream, whether it’s Penticton – we can launch in any city as long as we have a critical mass of drivers,” Martin van den Hemel, communication director with KABU-Ride, told iNFOnews.ca. “We strongly encourage the leaders of any of these cities that, if they want our services there, they just need to reach out to us.

But, they may have to wait in line as Lucky To Go plans to expand beyond the Central Okanagan into Vernon, Penticton and, possibly, Kamloops on Sept. 1.

Kabu launched in Kamloops on July 1 at the same time as Lucky To Go kicked off its Kelowna service.

READ MORE: First ride-hailing service launches in Kamloops today

“Things are going well,” Mandeep Rana, owner of the Victoria-based Lucky To Go, told iNFOnews.ca, noting the company has already provided 1,500 rides. “It's more than what I expected, I can tell you that much.”

The 1,500 rides are far below what he would have wanted in normal times but has been encouraging under COVID-19, he said.

About 40 drivers signed up for Lucky To Go but only about 25 are working shifts to provide 24-hour per day service. The others are reluctant to drive because of COVID-19 and, since many of those are more than 50 years old, Rana is not encouraging them to get behind the wheel.

Lucky To Go also plans to start offering food delivery in a couple of months as their app for ride hailing is the same as for food delivery.

It has been slow going for the Richmond-based Kabu in Kamloops.

“Obviously, Kamloops is a smaller city than Kelowna so it’s been baby steps,“ van den Hemel said. “Every week has been better than the previous ones.”

They have a dozen drivers Kamloops, both part and full-time, but expect to eventually get to 30 full-time and 50 part-time drivers.

Right now they’re operating in Kamloops, as they will be in Kelowna, on what van den Hemel calls “ride share light.” That means service is only available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday with extended hours to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

By the time it launches in Kelowna on Saturday, van den Hemel expects to have only six to 12 drivers in Kelowna.

Kabu does offer food delivery in the Lower Mainland so will likely move into that field in the Interior some day, van den Hemel said.


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