Hundreds more cabs potentially coming to Metro Vancouver in weeks
There could be hundreds more taxis picking up passengers across Metro Vancouver in time for the holidays – but ride-hailing services are still many months away.
Documents from the Passenger Transportation Board show cab companies submitted more than 200 new licence applications last week as part of the province's industry modernization plan.
If approved, the new licences would increase the size of the region's taxi fleet by around 15 per cent – potentially preventing the kind of horror stories that happen every year as people struggle to get home from parties.
"We're excited," said Carolyn Bauer of the Vancouver Taxi Association. "Hopefully we'll receive approval … and we can get going and get these vehicles on the road."
Bauer said they aren’t purchasing any new cars until they get the go-ahead from the province, but they're hopeful the taxis could be on the road in early December – provided they can recruit enough drivers.
"Fingers crossed," she said. "Right now it's a challenge getting drivers into vehicles. I think it's a challenge for every employer in the province."
Of the 239 applications recently submitted, 16 have already been approved.
Meanwhile, B.C. Premier John Horgan has promised to introduce new ride-hailing legislation in just two weeks. But that doesn't mean long-awaited services like Uber and Lyft will be available anytime soon.
Even if legislation paving their way into the province is passed, the government has said the public will have to wait until fall 2019 to actually see ride-hailing vehicles on the roads, in part because ICBC will need to figure out how to insure them.
During the last provincial election, the NDP promised to welcome Uber by the end of 2017. The party received about $70,000 from various cab companies that year.
The government has acknowledged public frustration with the delays, but said it's important to ensure the taxi industry, and all the jobs it supports, remains competitive.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Jon Woodward
.@ctv_jon has the details on how more taxis are coming to Vancouver's roads, but a certain ride-sharing company is still absent. Read more on the story here: https://t.co/3ues1M3uOt pic.twitter.com/oQ9JBmuDxG— CTV Vancouver (@CTVVancouver) November 13, 2018