British Columbia

Vancouver issues first inter-municipal ride-hailing licence to Kabu

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the City of Vancouver said Kabu’s inter-municipal business licence will allow its drivers to pick up and drop off passengers across the Lower Mainland.

City says new licence will let Kabu operate in 22 municipalities from Squamish to Harrison

Kabu has received the first inter-municipal ride-hailing licence in the Lower Mainland, the City of Vancouver said. (lzf/Shutterstock)

The City of Vancouver said it has issued the first business licence to a ride-hailing company that will allow operations in communities from Squamish to Harrison Hot Springs.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the city said the new inter-municipal business licence allows drivers with Richmond-based Kabu to pick up and drop off passengers across the Lower Mainland.

"Having one ride-hailing business licence for the entire Lower Mainland will save companies hundreds of dollars in permitting fees and give residents across the region more transportation options, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in the statement.

The city said Uber and Lyft will continue to operate in Vancouver under municipal ride-hailing rules until they apply for an inter-municipal licence.

The city said the new license will let Kabu operate in 22 municipalities: Abbotsford, Anmore, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Harrison Hot Springs, City of Langley, Township of Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, District of North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Squamish, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver and White Rock.

Martin van den Hemel, Kabu's communications director, said the company was "elated" to get the first licence.

"This is just going to make it much easier for our Canadian company to on-board drivers and serve the public," van den Hemel said.

New regional licensing approach

The city's statement explained that as of April 1, ride-hailing companies in Vancouver and other participating municipalities only need to get a single inter-municipal licence instead of business licences for each city its drivers work in.

Companies must also hold a provincial licence from the Passenger Transportation Board, which Kabu has held since February.

Before the inter-municipal licence, licensing for ride-hailing companies varied wildly in the Lower Mainland.

At the end of January, the mayors' council on regional transportation voted in favour of an interim inter-municipal licence bylaw, calling for businesses to pay an annual $155 licensing fee plus $150 per vehicle in operation.

The per-vehicle fee drops to $30 for zero-emission vehicles and is waived for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Van den Hemel said he's hoping other regions of the province, like the Capital Regional Distirct on Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and Northern B.C. adopt a similar inter-municipal business licence model.

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