Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says he supports region-wide ride-hailing licence

Jan 31 2020, 2:57 pm

Calling it a “major step forward in addressing” what he believes is “the unfair advantage that ride-hailing companies currently have over taxi companies,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said on Friday that endorsement of the single, regional Inter-Municipal Business Licence (IMBL) by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation (MCRT) has his support.

“By having a single ride-hailing business licence for the region, this will eliminate duplication, confusion, and waste of time and money for both those issuing and seeking a licence,” said McCallum.

However, “I have not budged from my position that a level playing field must be in place for ride-hailing and taxi companies to compete in,” he said. “My fight is about ensuring fair competition in a highly regulated industry.”

McCallum said he’s now urging the province and the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) “to do their part to establish equity for those employed in the vehicle for hire industry by reviewing taxi boundaries, fleet caps, insurance requirements, and ensuring ride-hailing vehicles provide accessible services for customers of all abilities.”

McCallum’s comments come after the endorsement of the IMBL today, which was first put forward to the council in December.

The proposed bylaw provides a single set of requirements for all participating municipalities, making rules clear for companies and drivers.

Under the IMBL, ride-hailing companies would be able to obtain one licence to operate, as opposed to separate business licences for each municipality in Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) Region 1, which the council said could become “administratively onerous and expensive.”

The IMBL has several requirements and processes for ride-hailing companies wishing to operate locally. These include the following:

  • Ride-hailing companies would pay a $155 annual per-company fee and an additional $150 charge per-vehicle.
  • The per-vehicle fee will be waived for wheelchair accessible vehicles.
  • The per-vehicle fee will be discounted by $30 for zero-emission vehicles.
  • The City of Vancouver will administer the interim IMBL, collecting fees and trip data, which will be distributed to participating municipalities each month.

Fees and regulations associated with the IMBL would be in addition to requirements under the provincial government’s ride-hailing legislation. The bylaw will be shared as municipalities begin bringing the bylaw to their municipal councils for adoption.

“The development of the inter-municipal business licence has demonstrated how our region can work collaboratively together,” said council chair and mayor of New Westminster, Jonathan Coté. “The framework that has been developed gives cities a say in managing our roadways while keeping the application process simple and reasonable.”

The industry, he furthered, “has the potential to improve transportation options in our region, if we take steps to properly manage it.”