Ride hailing is officially up and running in Whistler. After becoming the first ride-hailing company to be approved in B.C., Whistle! officially began accepting ride requests in the resort today, Feb.10, at 11 a.m.
So naturally, we decided to test it out.
Downloading the app was quick and easy, requiring limited information on the part of the passenger—all you needed to do was input your email, name, phone number and credit card information, and up popped a map of Whistler, scattered with a couple of grey car icons (the number of cars available throughout the afternoon ranged from one to five).
I typed in my desired destination, tapped the "request ride" button, and the app began working its magic to match me with the closest driver. The app shows you the cost of your trip before you accept the ride, as well as a photo of your driver, his or her name, and the make and model of their vehicle. In my case, a trip from Function Junction to Creekside was $17.75.
I hit the "accept" button, and 10 minutes later, Paul and his white Ford Escape were rounding the corner into Function Junction. If you've used Uber or Lyft in other cities, it's pretty much an exact replica of that process.
(Pro tip: I'd advise prospective passengers to double check their pickup locations-in each instance; I assumed the app would naturally direct my driver to pick me up at my exact locations, but instead it led drivers to show up at nearby businesses. However, the mix-up was easily rectified—since drivers can call you through the app, we were able to sort out a meeting point.)
When it comes to the price, the ride-hailing app initially seemed slightly pricier than I remember a typical taxi trip to Creekside. But considering gratuities aren't necessary for Whistle! drivers, it probably worked out to about the same once the tip was factored in.
A follow-up call to Whistler Taxi confirmed a trip from Function to Creekside would cost approximately $10 to $15, depending on the meter. Whistler Resort Cabs pegged their costs at between $10 and $15 as well.
Both trips there and back were great by any standard—my two drivers, Paul (from Pemberton, who gleefully informed me that I was his very first passenger) and Brian (a Squamish local who said I was his fourth or fifth trip) were warm and personable while I peppered them with questions about their new gig. Their vehicles were clean, spacious and new. I gave them both a five-star rating after the trip.
Whistle! is currently the only ride-hailing service available in the resort. While Uber and Lyft have been approved to operate in B.C., neither company has announced any specific plans to set up shop in Whistler.
The Whistle app is available for download at whistle.ca or through the App Store on iPhone or Google Play on Android.
For more on this story pick up Pique on Thursday or go online to piquenewsmagazine.com.
Editor's note: Pique was initially quoted $15 to $20 for a Whistler Resort Cabs ride from Function Junction to Creekside, as originally stated in this story. The company has since followed up to say the cost is actually $10 to $15. The updated story reflects that change.