A ride share car displays Lyft and Uber stickers on its front windshield in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2016. The British Columbia government’s firm position on tougher driver’s licence requirements for ride-hailing is a move in the right direction, given the experiences from other jurisdictions, a transportation expert says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Richard Vogel

Surrey mayor the lone vote against regional business licensing for ride hailing

Metro Vancouver mayors have voted to fast-track regional licensing in early 2020

Metro Vancouver mayors have voted to fast track implementing a regional business licence for ride hailing in the New Year – with only Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum opposed.

McCallum was the lone vote against the motion during a Dec. 12 Mayor’s Council meeting at TransLink’s headquarters in New Westminster.

“A large majority of our residents do not support ride hailing in Surrey, basically because it is not a level playing field between ride-hailing and taxis,” McCallum said ahead of the vote, pointing to caps on the number of taxi vehicles allowed.

Earlier this fall, McCallum told a crowd of taxi drivers he intended to deny business licences to such operators.

It’s an idea that Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis called “ridiculous” at the time, adding that the mayor should be “working for Surrey residents, not (a) handful of taxi owners.”

A Mainstreet Research study released in July suggested a “strong majority of Surrey residents” support ridesharing options such as Lyft and Uber.

“78% of Surrey residents think that ridesharing should be a transportation option available to residents of Metro Vancouver, with a majority strongly believing that this should be the case,” said Joseph Angolano, Vice President of Mainstreet Research, of the study that surveyed 726 Surrey residents. “Similarly, we found that most Surrey residents think that the British Columbia government should implement ridesharing as soon as possible.”

ALSO READ: Surrey councillor slams mayor’s vow to deny ride-hailing licenses

Shortly after the Dec. 12 decision, Surrey Board of Trade voiced its support for the decision.

“Surrey needs ride hailing and transportation options in the face of continued delays for transit infrastructure. This is a step in the right direction for ride hailing implementation across Metro Vancouver,” said Anita Huberman, SBOT CEO, in a release. “The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased with today’s Mayor’s Council vote in favour of innovation and facts.”

Ride hailing is anticipated to hit roadways in the region as early as the end of the month, according to the B.C. government, and function as a zone-by-zone model across the province with each city being responsible for developing a licensing model how officials see fit.

Twenty-one cities in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast are all considered part of Zone 1.

Over the past few months, individual cities have been grappling with how best to implement business licensing fees and other costs to ride-hailing companies. Factors include keeping safety at the forefront while also ensuring an equal playing field to taxi companies.

Councillors in Burnaby passed a motion this week, green-lighting a $510-per-driver fee and other various annual fees. Vancouver has passed a $100-per-driver fee.

But advocates for ride-hailing have criticized this approach, noting that these fees will not be taken on by the companies – similar to taxi companies – and instead be placed on drivers. Individual licenses will dissuade drivers from offering up their services in each city equally, ride-hailing supporters have argued.

In Coquitlam, city officials have passed an inter-municipal business license with Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, similar to what the three cities use for mobile businesses.

“This is a natural extension to the existing mobile business license structure to allow companies or people that do business in other municipalities so they don’t have to take a license out in each one,” explained Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said.

“I’d love to see the region do this with lots of other mobile businesses.”

TransLink vice-president Geoff Cross told the mayors that the province has said it will take over the process of implementing licenses from municipalities. The goal is to have an interim license model in place by Jan. 31 and a full set of rules by the end of 2020.

“This is a defining moment, we come here to try to collaborate and I do believe we have the opportunity to do it. Citizens I think are in vast support of ride-hailing, particularly for my community in Pitt Meadows,” Mayor Bill Dingwall said. “We don’t have a lot of other options, including taxis, and so this provides those options. What it does is help to increase our citizens confidence in TransLink, in this board and in the mayors that sit around it that we have their best interests in mind.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed 19-year-old man

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in deadly crash at intersection of 122 Street and 78 Avenue

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘I’m confident that we’ll somehow make it happen,’ says Surrey Eagles owner as BCHL mulls plans to return

Junior ‘A’ hockey league pondering different return-to-play scenarios for 2020-‘21 season

In ‘landmark move,’ Surrey Pride party goes online for the event’s 21st anniversary

‘We have the ‘honour’ of being the first large city to put on a virtual Pride Festival’

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Golden Ears park expected to be busy the first camping weekend of season

Campgrounds expected to be full or close to full

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

Most Read

l -->