What’s It Like Living in a City Without Uber or Lyft?
If you live in just about any North American city, you can whip out your smartphone and hail a ride whenever you want. In San Francisco, ride-hailing has been available since Uber launched in 2010, and breakneck expansion over the next five years brought the company and its competitors to cities as small as Easton, Pennsylvania. Places like Austin, Texas, might have temporarily booted Uber and Lyft over concerns with their business practices, but today you can use their services pretty much anywhere in the United States or Canada.
Unless, that is, you find yourself in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Unlike every other major North American metro area, the Vancouver region doesn’t allow ride-hailing. That makes Vancouver a unique example of what happens when a thriving North American city politely—this is Canada—passes on the ride-hail bandwagon. The result: Vancouver’s public transit system is adding riders even as usage drops in many other cities. Bike commuting is growing, and car-share services like Car2Go are booming.