FORT ST. JOHN -- Coastal Rides, a small independent ridesharing company based in Sechelt, B.C. is making its way to Fort St. John.

According to Founder Ryan Staley, they received provincial approval in February 2020 to operate in Northern B.C. He was approached by city staff asking for the app to be available for residents. He explains he needs qualified local drivers to sign up.

“It's going to take people in the community stepping forward to be drivers,” says Staley. Drivers need a class 4, 2 or 1 license and a vehicle less than 10 years old that passes a commercial vehicle inspection. They also need to pass driving and background checks.

So far, there have been a couple of residents asking for more information on the application process. Staley says once they apply, ridesharing could be available for residents in a month at the earliest.

“So realistically, if we can get a few people through those hoops in the next couple of weeks, we could start to have them doing rides in about a month or so. If the people that have signed up are all ready to go and have everything they need, we could see it happening by the end of October,” says the founder.

Staley works with the local drivers to meet transportation demands. “I talk directly to the drivers and make sure things are working, try to try to fix things, and make it work in the communities that we're operating in. It's a team effort, community effort to make things happen.”

Riders can download the Coastal Rides' app or use the website to book a ride. Riders can also pay for the ride online.

Staley launched the app in his community to fill the transportation gap. “The big U.S. companies tend to focus where the big the big numbers are. We're operating in places that are maybe ignored by those companies.”

Coastal Rides became the first ride-sharing app on the Sunshine Coast. It now operates in Comox, Campbell River, Vancouver Island and other cities.