Udi Kuaiche, a Chinese language Uber-like app is currently operating in Richmond and other parts of Metro Vancouver. However, all ride-sharing apps are unregulated and their services are illegal in BC. The company, launched in March has been providing airport services and car rides in the Lower Mainland. On their website, they are quoted "our company aims to serve everyone from the Chinese community and become the next leader in ride sharing." Uber, once operated briefly in area in 2012, but was shut down by the BC Passenger Transportation Board. Since then, all ride sharing services have been suspended and is considered illegal.
"We are not against the law because there are no regulations for this in BC yet," said Tom Chen, an executive of Udi Kuaiche. "Once the government is ready and implements a regulation system, we will apply." The company is currently operating under the table and shys away from the economy and may potentially face legal problems. The City of Richmond differs from their view; just because of the lack of provincial regulation does not give the company the green light to operate. "We believe it is illegal to run before the province's approval on ride-sharing services and the city will not issue them a business licence to operate in Richmond," city spokesperson Ted Townsend. "They are currently operating without a licence in Richmond right now."
Uber, and other ride-sharing apps has been an issue of discussion in the province. During the last election, the Liberal party had promised to bring ride-sharing into the province if re-elected. However, they were unable to form a majority government in the province and the majority resides with the coalition of rival parties. Many in the province feel ride-sharing should be allowed to operate since they feel the alternative of a taxi ride is either too expensive or the experience from using their services is unfavorable, or both. Currently rides from this app-based ride-sharing costs almost half of what a regular taxi ride. Users can pay the driver using cash or credit card, or pay in Chinese Renminbi, using the Wechat Pay, which is part of the online wallet built into WeChat. WeChat is the popular messaging app used in China. The BC Taxi Association warns the low cost of rides do come with potential risks. "Commercial taxis are insured, all the cars inspected and maintained properly. If anything goes wrong, the customer is protected. But those car-sharing services don't need to do any of that.l Of course it's cheaper," said Mohan Kang, the president of the BC Taxis Association.