Vancouver City Council Gives Operational Green Light to Ride-Hailing Companies Like Uber, Lift

Vancouver has become the first city in British Columbia to usher in ride-hailing regulations.

After the province of B.C. officially legalized ride-hailing in B.C. last month, the Vancouver City Council has finally given Vancouver the green light for ride-hailing services to operate across the city, reads a new report from CBC.

On Wednesday, city councillors approved a $100 CAD annual fee for ride-hailing drivers working within the city limits. They also approved to decrease the yearly licensing fee for taxi drivers from the current $600 to $100.

The Council also passed ride-hailing regulations that dictate where ride-hailing operators can stop at curbs to avoid traffic congestion. They’ve also added ride-hailing congestion fees to make it fair for taxi companies across the city by creating a level playing field.

“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 Mayor Kennedy Stewart, in a press release from the Vancouver City Council.

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

The city will also be moving ahead with charging a pick-up and drop-off tax of 30 cents each for rides within the downtown core from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., in order to ease congestion. Zero-emission and accessible vehicles will get a 50 per cent and 100 per cent discount, respectively, on the fee.

But Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung — the only city councillor who voted against the plan — said the fees could end up hurting the ridesharing industry regionally.

“What I did not support is a Vancouver-only model that moves ahead without looking at an inter-municipal approach,” she said. “What that smacks of to me is the taxi approach, where we are creating false challenges to having vehicles go across municipal boundaries.”