Vancouver adds licence rules, congestion fee for ride-hailing companies
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:31PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:20PM PDT
Vancouver city council voted to adopt additional licensing rules and street-level regulations for ride-hailing companies at its meeting Wednesday.
The province holds much of the decision-making power for regulating ride-hailing services and taxis, but cities can make their own rules around licences and street use by vehicle traffic.
Council voted to develop a consistent licensing system for all ride-hailing, taxi and limousine companies. They're looking at charging $155 for a company licence, plus $100 per vehicle. The vehicle licence fee would be waived for zero-emission and accessible vehicles.
A condition of having a license would be submitting monthly trip data to the city that will help staff monitor traffic impacts.
Council also voted to implement a curbside congestion fee for ride-hailing services that pick customers up in the downtown core. The idea is to discourage too many cars from pulling over to the side of the road in the already-congested area.
The fee would charge ride-hailing services $0.30 per pickup and $0.30 per drop-off anywhere north of 16th Avenue, west of Clarke Drive and east of Burrard Street. That fee would be cut in half for zero-emission vehicles, and wheelchair accessible vehicles would be exempt.
The fee would only apply between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., since the city doesn't want to place a burden on people taking late-night trips.
"During late night periods, many individuals rely on these services to avoid impaired driving or to avoid situations on the transportation network which they believe to be unsafe," a City of Vancouver policy report read.
The congestion fee would take effect in January 2020, to give ride-hailing services time to incorporate it into their fee structure. If approved, the city would also ask staff to review the congestion fee six months after it's implemented to assess whether it needs to be raised or lowered.
The fee wouldn't apply to taxis, to preserve their unique street-hail characteristic.
Vancouver will also use geofencing technology to help customers find their ride-hail drivers in busy locations. A geofence is a virtual perimeter incorporated into ride-hailing apps that restricts where pick-ups can occur. It's often used in airports, transit stations and during major events. Vancouver is looking at implementing the technology near the Canada Place cruise ship terminals, the Granville Entertainment District and the Stadium District.
Council also decided to let ride-hailing vehicles stop in metered spots for up to two minutes while picking up and dropping off customers, which taxis are also allowed to do.
However, ride-hailing vehicles will not be permitted to use taxi stands or to drive in bus lanes, as taxis are allowed to do.