In recent times, few things have been as hotly anticipated in the Lower Mainland as the arrival of ride hailing services. Well, at the beginning of this month, Vancouver City Council finally gave the go-ahead for companies like Uber and Lyft to legally operate.
“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 addition, Council has worked hard to set a level playing field for all passenger-directed transportation companies operating in the city.”
As we all know clogged roads pose a real problem, particularly during peak hours. To combat this, starting Jan. 6 ride hailing service operators will require a special permit when picking up and dropping off curbside between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the metro core — the boundary is defined as Burrard Street, 16th Avenue, Clark Avenue and the Burrard Inlet. Each stop at a targeted curb costs 30 cents, with EVs receiving a 50 per cent discount. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are exempt.
The number of pick-up and drop-off zones is also set to increase, and in high demand areas passengers may be redirected via the various proprietary company mobile apps. Taxis can continue to use bus lanes for travel, subject to further review.
In order to keep things fair for all the various service operators in the city, the business licensing ($155 per) and vehicle ($100 per, zero emissions and wheelchair accessible exempt) fees have been standardized across the board, including taxis and limousines.
Chief license inspector Kathryn Holm believes the sandbox is big enough for every party to play in.
“Our goal is for all transportation business to have a place to work in our city, as part of our overall regional network,” said Holm.