Beginning in June, new license plates in B.C. will go from a “000-AAA” format to a “AA0-00A” format.
The change is happening because ICBC is nearing the end of possible unique combinations for passenger vehicle plates, which means the introduction of a new format.
According to ICBC Senior Media Relations Advisor Adam Grossman, there was the consideration of going to a seven digit format like in Ontario and Alberta but it was deemed too costly.
“ICBC […] found it would be a costly switch and would interfere with administrative systems for brokers that are built for the six character system. Seven character combinations would also require smaller numbers and letters, making plates harder for police to read.”
Because ICBC is intent on retaining the six-digit format due to cost considerations, it is assumed that when the “AA0-00A” format runs out, each character will again be shifted to the left, creating a “A00-0AA” format.
The original alphanumeric AAA-000 format was introduced in 1970 and the switch to the 000-AAA format was made in 2001. The new format is expected to last approximately eight to ten years.
Featured Image: ICBC