Gordy Robson

Update: Ride-hailing licence expected in Maple Ridge by April 1

Regional licence now on council agenda

Maple Ridge council is moving ahead with its own version of a regional bylaw that will pave the way for ride hailing to come this city.

Three readings of the inter-municipal business licence bylaw were up for review at council’s committee meeting on Tuesday.

The bylaw was developed by Metro Vancouver mayors to speed up the regulatory process by creating a single set of rules to get ride-hailing services operating.

Maple Ridge council, with only four members present, voted unanimously to send on the bylaw to a regular meeting. The bylaw is expected to be passed but it won’t be until April 1 when those licences take effect.

Coun. Gordy Robson, noted that if Uber starts operating before that time, they could do so, even though the inter-municipal business licence is not yet in place.

“If they decide to come early, we’re not going to be out there looking for (ticketing) Ubers, are we?” Robson said.

Staff replied no.

Both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows mayors have previously stated their support for ride hailing Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said Friday said he hasn’t yet of any ride-sharing companies operating in Maple Ridge.

“The public is looking for rides home and more ways to get to where they’re going supplementing transit. It’s all about options to meet everyday needs of people,” Morden said.

Morden said there’s a four-month backlog for Class 4 licensing tests.

Pitt Meadows council gave three readings to an identical bylaw at its Tuesday meeting. Coun. Bob Meachen said that it makes it easier to have just one business licence for several municipalities noting there’s a shortage of drivers with Class 4 drivers’ licences. That could explain why Uber is not yet in Pitt Meadows, he added.

“This is about enhanced services for our community, but also about enhanced public safety,” so people can get home safely, said Mayor Bill Dingwall.

Read more: B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Under the bylaw, ride-sharing companies in the region will have to be licensed through the City of Vancouver. The fee will be $155 per ride-hailing company and $150 for each vehicle.

Revenue from those fees then will be shared with cities throughout the region based upon the respective share of rides in each city.

Read more: Maple Ridge mayor adds voice of support for ridesharing

The bylaw though allows each city to set its own street and traffic regulations and to suspend a ridehailing licence within its boundaries. The bylaw also could be adjusted later to meet current needs.

Read more: B.C.’s first ride-hailing app to launch in Tofino, Whistler in February

Maple Ridge council is actually looking at two bylaws, one setting up an agreement between Maple Ridge and its fellow Metro Vancouver neighbours, and the other the actual bylaw that sets out conditions within its borders.

Under the bylaw, wheelchair accessible vehicles don’t have to pay a licence fee while zero-emission vehicles will only pay $30.

“There is strong support for ride hailing in the Lower Mainland and the province has now authorized three companies to operate in Region 1,” added Robin MacNair, senior adviser, bylaws in council’s March 3 agenda.

On Dec. 16, the Passenger Transportation Board approved an application from Green Coast Ventures Inc., to operate in Whistler and parts of Vancouver Island, excluding the Capital Region District.

Green’s application is the first ridesharing licence to be issued by the PTB. To date, the PTB has received 29 ride-hailing applications.

On Friday, the Passenger Transportation Board approved Coast Rides ridesharing to operate on some parts of Vancouver Island and other parts of B.C.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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