McCallum: Proposed ride-hailing Inter-Municipal Business Licence major step forward in ending unfair advantage

THE proposed ride-hailing Inter-Municipal Business Licence (IMBL) that is supported by virtually all of Mayors’ Council takes a major step forward in addressing the unfair advantage that ride-hailing companies currently have over taxi companies, said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Friday.

The following was approved almost unanimously by the Mayors’ Council:

  1. Endorse the principles and framework for establishing and administering an interim Inter-Municipal Business Licence (IMBL);
  2. Urge municipalities within Region 1 [lower Mainland and Whistler] to adopt the associated interim IMBL bylaw as quickly as possible;
  3. Urge municipalities within Region 1 to harmonize existing municipal fees on taxicabs with the fees proposed in the IMBL for ride-hailing;
  4. Urge the province and Passenger Transportation Board to level the playing field between taxis and transportation network services (TNS) by reviewing taxi boundaries, fleet caps and insurance requirements, and ensuring TNSs provide accessible services for customers in mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters.

McCallum said: “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. Another benefit of this regional approach is the Mayors’ Council’s recognition that rides do not start nor end solely within Metro Vancouver. This is why we are proposing to have the IMBL encompass ride-hailing from the Fraser Valley through Metro Vancouver and along the Sea to Sky Corridor of Squamish, Whistler and beyond.”

He pointed out: “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. My fight is about ensuring fair competition in a highly regulated industry. The IMBL approved by the Mayors’ Council today levels the playing field and it has my support. I now urge the province and the Passenger Transportation Board 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.”

MEANWHILE, Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said:

“I would like to thank the Mayors’ Council and the TransLink Working Group for its progress in encouraging municipalities to adopt an IMBL for ride-hail companies.

“This framework will streamline the business licence application process – eliminating a patchwork system across the Lower Mainland, allowing pickup and drop-off between participating municipalities. This will make it simple for Region 1 and Metro Vancouver municipalities to issue business licences to ride-hailing companies.

“Yesterday, I shared that our government has been working with ICBC and the taxi industry to create a new insurance product for taxi drivers. This product will be based on the per-kilometre distance travelled and will be more affordable for the industry overall.

“The independent Passenger Transportation Board is responsible for supply caps. The board has confirmed that it will monitor ride-hailing performance data and has stated that, as information becomes available, fleet size may be reassessed.

“Our government continues to work to support accessible transportation options with a fee of 30 cents for every trip in a ride-hail vehicle. We are working with industry and stakeholders as fees are collected on how to best allocate these funds.

“We will continue working to ensure the system works, prioritizes safety and is fair for ride hailing, the taxi industry and all road users.”