President of Whistle! Dylan Green hopes his new ridesharing service will help solve some of the Coast’s transportation issues. (Kyler Vos photo)

B.C.’s first ride-hailing app to launch in Tofino, Whistler in February

The Whistle! app will be available in Tofino on Feb.1 and in Whistler Feb. 6.

B.C.’s first ride-hailing service is on track to roll out in Tofino over the next couple weeks.

Dylan Green said his new ridesharing app called Whistle! will release on Feb. 1 in Tofino with four drivers and on Feb. 6 in Whistler with 10 drivers.

On Dec. 16, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved an application from Green Coast Ventures Inc., owned by Green, to operate in Whistler and parts of Vancouver Island, excluding the Capital Region District.

Green’s application is the first ridesharing licence to be issued by the PTB. To date, the PTB has received 29 ride-hailing applications.

“Tofino, Ucluelet, Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton are all small towns, but we have the world visit us on weekends and holidays,” Green told the Westerly at a Tofino Whistle! Ride Job fair on Jan. 16.

“The transportation demands on our small towns are so great that no transportation company can keep up. We struggle with it every summer,” he said.

According to a recent report released by Tourism Tofino, the small beach town of less than 2,000 residents hosted an estimated 600,000 visitors in 2018. Tofino’s lone taxi driver was not available for interview as they are on a “much needed vacation” until Feb. 3.

READ: Tourism Tofino says visitors generate $240 million annually

Similar to other ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, Whistle! passengers can only book and pay via the app or website. There is no street hailing or phone dispatch. Whistle! is capable of calculating fares that account for minimum rate, distance, and time. The ride-hailing app then processes the passenger’s electronic payment and transmits an electronic receipt. Fares will be similar to taxi rates.

“The goal is not to replace taxis. It’s to increase inventory and help out,” notes Green.

Whistle! drivers are required by the provincial Ministry of Transport to have a Class 4 restricted licence and provide an ICBC driving record. Drivers must complete a police record check and a vulnerable sector check. Whistle! vehicles must be less than 10 years and one month old and they will undergo a vehicle inspection.

In terms of vehicle insurance, all drivers have to do is convey to their auto insurance provider that they are a Whistle! driver for Green Ventures. The company covers the insurance from the moment a driver accepts a ride and starts driving to the pick-up and they cover while the passenger is in the car until drop-off.

“If anything happens, it’s all covered by our insurance,” said Green.

Currently there is no fleet capacity on ride-hailing in B.C.

“The whole idea is you want to get as many locals to drive because then they can just drive when it works for them. On a busy Friday or on their way to work, so you’re not really adding cars or more congestion, you’re just using cars that are already on the road and might be going somewhere,” said Green. “I think it’s going to be exciting for locals to really brainstorm on what ridesharing can really do.”

Whistle! is not the first transportation venture for Green. In 2002, he started Tofino Bus as an inter-city bus and charter service and expanded it in 2014 to include the entire Vancouver Island. Green sold Tofino Bus on Nov. 15, 2018 to Greater Victoria-based Wilson’s Group.

READ: Wilson’s Group acquires 16-year-old Tofino Bus service

“I knew that my skills operating Tofino Bus could be really valuable. I learned how to operate a small business in a regulated industry. With ridesharing, the rules are actually a bit more open so you can actually start to solve real transportation problems,” he said.

“It’s really the first time that locals can use their own car, which is happening so naturally. You see it on the Facebook groups. This is finally the first legal way to do it.”

Whistle! currently has a launch promo underway to attract drivers. Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to visit: www.whistle.ca.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Transitride hailingTofino,

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Timeline pushed back for Tofino-Ucluelet highway construction project

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said the ministry’s announcement came as “no surprise.”

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District adopts 2020 budget in closed-door meeting

The plan shows an overall tax increase of 6.64 percent, applied differently in each electoral area

3-D printer provides PPE for West Coast General Hospital

City of Port Alberni purchases 3-D printers to help with pandemic

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Most Read