Mayors’ Council endorses inter-municipal business licence for ride-hailing

Metro Vancouver mayors are encouraging municipalities to adopt the bylaw

THE Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation on Friday released the details of the agreement reached at its January 30 in-camera meeting on an interim inter-municipal business licence (IMBL) bylaw for ride-hailing companies wishing to operate in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Squamish-Lillooet regional districts. A working group led by staff from municipalities with support from TransLink and the provincial government has developed this interim bylaw. The Mayors’ Council is urging municipal governments to begin adopting the proposed bylaw as soon as possible.

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 companieswould be able to obtain one licence to operate, as opposed to separate business licences for each municipality in Passenger Transportation Board Region 1, which could become administratively onerous and expensive.

The IMBL has several requirements and processes for ride-hailing companies wishing to operate locally.

  • 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 for zero emission vehicles is $30.
  • 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 Mayors’ Council Chair and New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté. “The framework that has been developed gives cities a say in managing our roadways while keeping the application process simple and reasonable. This industry has the potential to improve transportation options in our region, if we take steps to properly manage it.”

The creation of the IMBL involved cooperation across regional districts. Mayor of the District of Squamish Karen Elliott says the inclusion of municipalities throughout the ride-hailing region takes travel patterns into account. “Trips don’t always start and end within the same community. The IMBL will create streamlined processes and rules to support reliable service across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky region. It’s a common-sense approach that will provide us the data we need to make sure this type of transportation service works for citizens and local government.”

The proposed interim framework would be in place until a permanent IMBL can be developed.

The Mayors’ Council is also encouraging municipalities to harmonize current municipal fees for taxis with fees set out in the IMBL. In addition, it is urging the provincial government and the Passenger Transportation Board to level the playing field for taxis and ride hailing companies by reviewing taxi boundaries, fleet caps and insurance requirements, and ensuring that a mechanism is put in place to subsidize approved ride-hail vehicles or taxis that provide adequate accessible services for customers who rely on mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters.

The Mayors’ Council is asking to meet with the province and the Passenger Transportation Board to understand how progress on these issues can be made. The Mayors’ Council welcomes recent commitments by Transportation Minister Claire Trevena to develop fairer solutions to insurance and accessibility provisions as a first step towards building a more level playing field.