YVR Airport increased its number of taxi licenses by 20% this year

May 11 2019, 6:20 am

With growing air passenger numbers and rising complaints over long waits for taxis, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) says it has increased its taxi permit fleet numbers by over 20% this year.

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This significant increase boosts the airport taxi fleet numbers from 579 licenses previously to 697 licenses. It follows 2018’s additions of 54 licenses.

Not all taxis in Metro Vancouver can operate at YVR; this total number for 2019 means roughly one third of all vehicles on the road in the region can pick up and drop off passengers at the airport.

According to the airport authority, it is no different than taxis operating in different municipalities requiring different permits, including the City of Richmond. This is enforced by provincial municipal boundaries for taxi operations.

“YVR has similar rules and also requires a permit to operate at the airport. Permits are provided directly to taxi companies who then issue it to their fleet to operate at YVR,” said the airport authority in an email to Daily Hive.

“There is an annual fee per permit and it differs based on the company’s average number of trips in the previous year.”

Fees for the required permits to operate at YVR are $4,152 annually for the tier one license of more than 90 average airport trips per month and $3,120 annually for the tier two license (less than 90). This does not include GST, and it is in addition to the annual permit fees paid to the municipality the taxi is based in.

The airport authority says it does not have updated statistics at this time on any changes to the average taxi wait times from the license additions. But they say, anecdotally, there has been a positive impact with the increase in licenses.

Frustration over poor taxi reliability and long waits have led to growing calls for improved taxi services and the introduction of ride share. Overall, the region’s taxi fleet has not kept up with the growth in population, the business community, and tourism, especially soaring numbers of airport and cruise ship passengers in recent years.

YVR saw a record 25.94 million passengers last year, up from just under 18 million in 2013. Nearly 1.1 million cruise ship passengers are also expected at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal this year, an increase of 21% over 2018.

In 2018, YVR saw a record 1.27 million outbound taxi trips — a 9.4% increase from 2017.

Data for last year also indicates 21% of air passengers at the airport are using the Canada Line, while another 8% are using other forms of collective transportation such as shuttle buses, courtesy buses, and coaches. YVR has the highest rate of public transit usage among airports in North America.

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