Ride-hailing license cuts across the region, not restricted to Richmond

Regional mayors have come up with a proposal to allow ride-hailing businesses to have one license for the entire Lower Mainland, allowing them to pick up and drop off anywhere in the region, something the taxi industry can’t do at this time.

TransLink’s Mayors’ Council has come up with a proposal for the ride-hailing Intermunicipal Business License (IMBL) to be used across all Lower Mainland municipalities – instead of operators needing a separate one for each city.

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Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie thinks the regional license is “critical” to making ride-hailing successful.

“What you want is some consistency and reliability throughout the entire region,” he said.

Each municipality can then add its own rules onto the license, he said, adding that there are bound to be issues in each city.

The IMBL would cost $155 per company but there would also be a $150 fee for each vehicle. The per-vehicle fee, however, would be waived for wheelchair accessible vehicles. The fee for zero emission vehicles would be $30.

The Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved Uber and Lyft for the Lower Mainland a week ago. Uber is operating in Richmond while Lyft is still looking to expand into the city. Both are licensed by the City of Richmond to operate.

The PTB permit for these two ride-hailing companies prompted the Mayors’ Council to move quickly with the IMBL – currently being referred to as an “interim” license as some changes are expected later in the year.

Brodie said he hopes the rules and regulations will align with what the taxi industry is required to do.

Taxis currently have to be licensed in each municipality they operate in and have a cap on the number of vehicles they can operate.

“I’ve been told by the taxi industry they’ve tried to get changes for a long time,” he said.

The taxi industry, including Richmond Cabs (operating as Richmond Taxi), has filed for an injunction to quash ride-hailing services.

In its press release Friday, the mayors’ council was urging the province and the PTB to level the playing field for taxis and ride-hailing companies.

The rules and regulations for the ride-hailing IMBL will be sent to all Lower Mainland municipal councils for approval over the next month.

Each municipal government will decide whether they want to adopt the ride-hailing IMBL before it is implemented.

If approved, it will then be administered by the City of Vancouver.

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