City council gives green light for ride-hailing companies to operate in Vancouver

Oct 3 2019, 10:29 am

After the provincial legalization of ride-hailing in BC last month, city council has given the green light for ride-hailing companies to operate in Vancouver.

“I’m looking forward to Vancouver welcoming ride-hailing in a way that minimizes its impacts on traffic congestion, particularly in Vancouver’s metro core,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“Thanks to council’s endorsement we can move forward with strategies to ensure that ride-hailing is consistent with our long-term goals as a city to reduce congestion and emissions,” said the city’s Director of Transportation, Lon LaClaire.

In response to concerns about increased road congestion, council approved the implementation of new congestion and curbside stopping regulations.

Between 7 am and 7 pm, ride-hailing services operating in the city’s core will require a Congestion and Curbside Management Permit (CCMP) when dropping-off or picking-up at curbs. The fee is 30 cents for each pick-up and drop-off, and will be reduced by 50% for zero-emission vehicles. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are exempt from the fee.

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LaClaire said that using field observations combined with data from taxi and ride-hailing services, “we will be closely monitoring the impact of ride-hailing services on Vancouver’s road network.”

The city said worked with key partners and industry stakeholders such as the Vancouver Taxi Association, ride-hailing companies, ride-hailing proponents, Business Improvement Associations, and Tourism Vancouver to develop the new regulations.

Taxis are currently not required to obtain a curbside permit.

Council also endorsed a number of additional on-street management measures which include:

  • Increasing the number of passenger pick-up and drop-off zones;
  • Redirecting passengers via ride-hailing mobile apps to designated pick up/drop off zones in high demand areas of the city;
  • Maintaining existing taxi zones and continuing to allow taxis in bus lanes, subject to further review.

Vehicle licensing and operation

The city said that in an effort to “keep costs fair for all operators in the city,” the licensing and vehicle fees for taxis and limousines companies are now set at the same cost as ride-hailing companies.

“Council has worked hard to set a level playing field for all passenger-directed transportation companies operating in the city,” said Stewart.

To operate in Vancouver, ride-hailing companies must have both a Provincial TNS licence from the Passenger Transportation Board and a municipal business licence, which includes a fee per vehicle. Licensing and vehicle fees cover the costs to administer this program and to collect and analyze trip and vehicle data submitted monthly by taxi, limousine, and ride-hailing companies.

City staff will use the data to audit and evaluate the impact ride-hailing has on transportation in Vancouver and will report back to council in six months.

“We’ve heard clearly the importance of working with other municipalities to create a regional approach to ride-hailing licensing and we will continue to advance our dialogue with our regional partners,” said the city’s Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm.