Province reduces annual licence fee for taxi industry

THE Province announced on Monday that taxi and limousine operators will pay less to keep their vehicles on the road.

“We’ve heard from operators and drivers about the impact of COVID-19 on British Columbians who make their living in the taxi industry,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Lowering the annual licence fee is just one of the ways our government can step in and help this industry as we continue to reopen and recover together.”

On June 22, the annual licence renewal fee was reduced for commercial operators who hold a Passenger Directed Vehicle Authorization, which includes taxi and limousine operators. In the past, these licensees paid an annual fee of $100 per vehicle with no overall fee cap. It has been reduced to $50 per vehicle with a licence fee cap of $5,000.

“There have been significant impacts on our industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as there have been for so many,” said Carolyn Bauer, spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association. “We have been working closely with the Province, and are pleased with this change that I believe will support our industry during this challenging time.”

Additional temporary measures to support the passenger transportation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic have also been introduced, including:

* waiving plate fees for all operators during COVID-19

* allowing eligible licensees to defer their passenger transportation renewal fee for up to six months

* allowing insurance payments to be temporarily suspended for fleet and non-fleet customers

“Throughout the pandemic, operators and drivers in the taxi and limo industry have worked hard to protect passengers, with new measures focused on hygiene to prevent transmission,” Trevena said. “This work has been so important in maintaining what has been designated an essential service.”

In addition to these measures, over the past two years the government has worked to support fairness for drivers through a package of initiatives including:

* implementing a more flexible, distance-based insurance product that ICBC now offers for the taxi industry, similar to what is available for ride hailing. This product became available on May 1.

* continuing work on how the per-trip fee for ride-hail trips can support accessible vehicles in the taxi industry.

* requiring both ride-hail and taxi drivers to have a Class 4 licence and undergo the same criminal record checks.

* in 2018, the ministry allowed taxi licensees to increase their fleet size by 15% in advance of ride hailing becoming legal in the province.

The Passenger Transportation Branch has issued best practices for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry during COVID-19 and supports the development of COVID-19 safety plans with the help of WorkSafeBC.

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