Victoria: British Columbia’s Passenger Transportation Board has granted long-awaited licensing approvals to ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft for service in the Lower Mainland and Whistler.

A statement from the independent licensing tribunal says the next steps for the companies will be to secure vehicle insurance and to work with the municipalities in the approved operating areas to ensure bylaw compliance.

Representatives for Uber and Lyft say in statements that they are pleased with the approvals and will work with local jurisdictions to get their services operating as soon as possible.

The B.C. government promised to bring ride-hailing services to the province last year, but by December only one company had received approval to operate in the Tofino and Whistler areas.

The board says it declined to approve ride-hailing applications for Kater Technologies Inc., and ReRyde Technologies Inc.

The transportation board says it has received 29 ride-hailing licence applications and has issued six decisions so far.

The Canadian Press