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Vancouver, Surrey approve regional ridesharing licence

The Uber app is pictured on a smartphone in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, Dec. 30, 2019.
The Uber app is pictured on a smartphone in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The City of Vancouver will spearhead the new interim regional business licence for ridesharing companies.

Vancouver council approved the interim inter-municipal business licence (IMBL) on Tuesday, a day after the City of Surrey.

READ MORE: Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum signs on to regional ridesharing licence, demands changes for taxi industry

Vancouver says it will lead the issuance and administration of the licence while other cities’ councils decide whether to sign on.

New details released on Metro Vancouver rideshare business licenses
New details released on Metro Vancouver rideshare business licenses

The new licence, which was negotiated by the Metro Vancouver board back in January, would allow ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to get a single business licence to operate in all participating municipalities.

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READ MORE: B.C. judge orders City of Surrey to stop handing out tickets to Uber drivers

Under the program, a company would pay an annual flat fee of $155, plus another $150 per standard vehicle or $30 per zero-emission vehicle annually. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles would not pay a licencing fee.

Metro Vancouver taxi industry fight ridesharing at B.C. Supreme Court
Metro Vancouver taxi industry fight ridesharing at B.C. Supreme Court

The city said money from the fees would be used to administer the program, with any additional money shared between municipalities based on the share of pickups and drop-offs in their community.

The city says it is still working with other municipalities to develop a permanent inter-municipal business licence.

READ MORE: Judge refuses to block Uber, Lyft from operating in Lower Mainland

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On Tuesday, the City of Surrey also amended its ride-for-hire bylaws with the aim of creating a “level playing field” between taxis and ridesharing vehicles.

Under the changes, Surrey’s taxi fleet and per-vehicle annual fees have been reduced to match the IMBL.

Taxis will be allowed to operate in marked bus lanes, and cab companies will be able to use vehicles up to 10-years-old, matching Uber and Lyft’s fleet rules.