City council considered an amendment to the City’s business licence bylaw to accommodate ride-hailing businesses at a meeting May 25.
Ride-hailing licences, like taxi licences, are facilitated by a provincial body called the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB,) which decides where in the province a company can operate. Some ride-hailing companies were approved to operate in the Lower Mainland last fall, but the PTB granted the first province-wide licence to a company called Kabu in February, city planner Tara Irwin told council. Kabu is the first ride-hailing company with potential to operate in Terrace.
“This was kind of exciting,” Irwin said. “This approval initiated a little bit of discussion at the staff level, namely we recognized that we didn’t have the regulatory framework in place if they were interested in coming to Terrace right away.”
The City must comply with PTB decisions and grant business licences to any ride-hailing company approved to operate in the area. However, the City is responsible for setting and collecting business licence fees and creating rules for those business licences.
Staff recommended a $250 business licence fee for any ride-hailing company, which is close to what the City would charge a taxi company, Irwin said. Staff also noted that each ride-hailing driver would need to apply for a business licence, as those drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. Staff recommended a $75 fee per driver.
Council generally approved of the plan and will vote to finalize the decision at a future meeting.
Irwin said two more companies have been approved to operate in the region since Kabu was approved.
No word yet on when any of those ride-hailing companies will set up shop in Terrace.