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Transportation

In the City That Ride-Hailing Forgot, Change Is Coming

Fears of congestion and a powerful taxi lobby have long kept ride-hailing apps out of transit-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s about to change.  
A woman stands on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A woman stands on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.Andy Clark/Reuters

VANCOUVER—It wouldn’t be very Canadian to brag about one’s advantages. But on the world stage of well-planned cities, Vancouver has a lot to envy.

Stitched around its ribbony shoreline, glassy high-rises, and ample urban forest is a public transit system that was recently voted North America’s best. Skytrain, the world’s longest fully automated rail network, hauls more than 495,000 passengers per day. Downtown buses arrive speedily—one bus route along Broadway comes every three minutes and moves 60,000 riders per day, the most in U.S. or Canada. Add in passenger ferries and a booming bikeshare program, and it’s little surprise that 53 percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving.