VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A financial break is coming for taxi and limo operators in B.C. impacted by COVID-19.
Annual fees for operators are being cut in half to $50 while being capped at $5,000. There wasn’t a cap before.
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) June 29, 2020
For the next six months, plate fees are being waved, insurance payments will be temporarily suspended, and license renewals can be deferred.
“We’ve heard from operators and drivers about the impact of COVID-19 on British Columbians who make their living in the taxi industry,” says Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Lowering the annual licence fee is just one of the ways our government can step in and help this industry as we continue to reopen and recover together.”
Carolyn Brauer, spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association, welcomes the changes.
“There have been significant impacts on our industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they have been for so many,” she says.
“We have been working closely with the Province and are please with this change that I believe will support our industry during this challenging time.”
While the Surrey Board of Trade also saw the changes as a relief, it is calling for more to be done.
“But what is needed – and what we have been asking for many months now – is the needed focus on removing archaic government red tape which forces taxis to drive back empty (deadhead) after dropping off passengers in neighbouring municipalities,” says Anita Huberman, the board’s CEO. “Deadheading leads to inefficient use of taxi fleets, increased congestion, GHG emissions, higher costs, longer wait times for passengers and lower-income for drivers.”
The board has renewed its call to the province to remove taxi boundaries in Metro Vancouver allowing the 2,500 taxis in the region to pick-up and drop-off passengers anywhere in the Lower Mainland.