Langley Township is on the verge of joining the Lower Mainland-wide ride hailing agreement.
Council gave unanimous agreement Monday, March 9, to a bylaw that will let the Township join the Inter-Municipal Ride Hailing Business License plan.
Mayor Jack Froese thanked Township staff for working with their colleagues in three regional districts, on a tight deadline, to get the deal and the bylaw ready.
Once initiated, the bylaw allows ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber to operate across Zone 1, which includes the Lower Mainland and parts of the Fraser Valley, with only one business license. The alternative would be for drivers to get licenses in each community where they picked up fares, which could mean getting a dozen or more licenses to effectively operate in Metro Vancouver.
Because almost every Metro Vancouver community has agreed to the same scheme, virtually the same rules will apply in each community.
“It certainly allows for some consistency,” Froese said.
“It’s a big benefit to this community,” said Councillor Steve Ferguson.
Uber and Lyft both recently expanded their service areas, covering the western half of Langley.
The license fee will require payment of $155 per company, plus vehicle fees of $150 for a standard vehicle, $30 for a zero emission vehicle, and free licensing for vehicles that are wheelchair-accessible.
The city of Vancouver will be the central licensing authority where drivers register and pay their fees.
Under provincial rules, drivers need a Class 4 license, the same kind used by taxi drivers.
Froese noted this is a basic license and is a one-year pilot program, which could see changes in the future.
There will be a chance for public input before council votes on a fourth and possibly final reading that could approve the new licensing plan.