Ride hailing service gets approval in Kelowna and Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Ride hailing service gets approval in Kelowna and Kamloops

KABU has been given permission to operate in the Okanagan.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE/KABU
February 07, 2020 - 12:58 PM

A ride-hailing service has been given the green light to start up in Kelowna and Kamloops, though don't expect to see it immediately. 

The Passenger Transportation Board, an independent licensing tribunal, completed its review of five applications from ride-hailing companies and Kabu Ride Inc. was approved to operate in the Okanagan, as well as the Lower Mainland.

According to Friday’s decision, Kabu, run by Yi (Billy) Xiong, intends to start operating immediately in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and Nanaimo.

It intends to expand to Kelowna and Kamloops within the next year.

KABU anticipates a fleet size of 40 vehicles to service the Central Okanagan (Kelowna) and Thompson-Nicola (Kamloops) areas by the end of 2020, with the hope of increasing the fleet to match demand.

"The company has identified an under-served and growing niche market across Canada that focuses on transportation for minority groups, including new immigrants, international students, and tourists," the decision from the board reads.

"KABU says that by speaking in their native language and providing services via familiar channels (such as social media channels popular in their home country), KABU can capture market share that other service providers have shown little or no interest in."

KABU provided information on the size of the markets for tourism, international students and new immigrants to Canada and the United States.

KABU Technologies created a software application called KABU Ride which  connects  riders  and  drivers  through  the  social  media  platform  WeChat.  GoKABU  used  the  KABU  App  to  provide  ride  hailing  services  primarily  in  the  Lower  Mainland  from  2016 to  Sept.  14, 2019.  During  that  period,  GoKABU  provided more than 1.3 million rides to more than 70,000 customers.

The PTB also approved Apt Rides to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler.

It rejected Inorbis Corporation and Tappcar Inc., both of which applied to operate in the Okanagan.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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