BCBusiness Report Card: Ride-hailing hits a speed bump and MEC mopes

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week.

MEC has had some trouble this year. 

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week

For a second there, it looked like transportation in the province was about to experience a major shift.

With advertisements teasing that Uber and Lyft would be in Vancouver imminently and the city facing a public transit strike, it looked like the perfect time for a mass revolution to the way we get around.

But something funny happened.

After weeks of bad news on the negotiation front, Translink and Unifor were able to come to an agreement at the last hour.

And ride-hailing continues to stall, with previous deadlines (the end of December was bandied about) looking rather unlikely

Take that, big tech.

Here’s what else made the grade (and what didn’t) this week.

Women entrepreneurs

Grade: A

The excellent Pitch for the Purse competition had its semifinal this week in Vancouver. The fourth annual battle (and the first jointly held between Vancouver and Toronto) saw 17 entrepreneurs pitch their business to a team of judges.

In the end, three finalists were sent to compete in February’s battle royal for the $25,000 purse.

This year, those were Vancouver’s Bunny and Taran Ghatrora of Blume, Lynn Dargis, founder of Alberta-based Farmbucks Inc. and Kate Swanson of Toronto’s Ensembl.

It’s another win for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, who put on the contest every year.

The Royal BC Museum

Grade: A–

Usually we’re not huge fans of public institutions trying to be humorous on social media. But…

Yeah, this is the best tweet ever. So much so that it might actually make us go to the Royal BC Museum next time we’re in Victoria.


Grade: B–

Not only are government officials backtracking on when Uber and Lyft might arrive in the province, the question of how drivers will be classified is starting to get thrown around.

This is a big deal. If drivers are considered employees instead of contractors, it will give the companies another reason to rethink expanding into the province.

But that’s OK, because we haven’t seen a single complaint about taxis in B.C.

Andrew Wilkinson

Grade: C

Look, if you’re going to bring the heat about a transit strike, at least give credit where it’s due when it’s over. Just acknowledging it would be nice. But while Wilkinson’s Twitter account was happy to point out the impending strike before it happened, there was no mention of the resolution at all.

It’s almost like the Liberal leader didn’t actually give a crap whether the transit strike happened and was just using the issue to dump on the government.

But no, that can’t be it.


Grade: C–

Everyone’s favourite lighting fixture took an absolute beating this week, as the City of Vancouver unveiled its latest piece of public art.

For the uninitiated, it’s a massive chandelier designed by artist Rodney Graham that hangs under the Granville Street Bridge and spins around twice a day. And it cost $4.8 million.


We haven’t checked the odds on this, but we’d personally bet the house on this thing getting vandalized before the weekend is out.

If you’re paying $4.8 million for a chandelier, Sia better be swinging from that damn thing.

According to the Internet, the most famous chandelier in the world is the one from Titanic. So at least the expectations on how this might end are relatively low.

It’s a good thing Vancouver has no problems and would have no other use for that money.


Grade: D

In news that deeply troubled white generation X dudes, Vancouver-based MEC announced that it lost more than $11 million last year.

The company blamed the loss primarily on increased competition, but there are some other theories floating around as well.

Not a great harbinger when you’re currently building a massive flagship store in the middle of Olympic Village, one of the costlier locations in the country.