British Columbia

No Uber for another year, Vancouver city council decides

Vancouver city council has passed a motion to extend a moratorium on taxi licences in the city for 12 months.

Council also extended a 1-year moratorium on issuing taxi licenses

Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs said that while Vancouver needs to increase its taxi fleet, it will not be issuing new licenses until the province decides how to proceed with ride sharing apps like Uber. (CBC)

Vancouverites hoping to use the ride-sharing application Uber, or find more taxis on the city's streets, will have to wait another year.

City council voted in favour of extending a moratorium on issuing new taxi licences for another year.

This means that there will be no new taxis on Vancouver streets until at least October 2017, and that Uber cabs will be unable to break into B.C.'s taxi market.

Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs, who put forward the motion, said that he agrees Vancouver needs to increase its fleet of taxis, but that it "doesn't make sense" to issue new licences until the province completes a review of B.C.'s taxi industry to determine how it can coexist with ride-sharing applications like Uber.

"We all agree more service is warranted. But no one is I think keen to put out new taxi licences if they're not going to be economically viable in the face of ride-sharing or any other changes the provinces could impose."

Seeking a 'made in B.C.' solution

Peter Fassbender, the minister responsible for TransLink, began a review of the province's taxi industry in January. He said he hoped to find a "made in B.C." solution to help taxis and ride-sharing services work side by side.

Meggs said that once the findings of that report are released, there should be no delay in lifting the moratorium and issuing new licences.

There is currently no date set for the release of the report, though Meggs said it could be after the provincial election.

Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath issued a statement following the council's decision:

"We believe that Vancouverites are clearly underserved and that people deserve access to more reliable transportation options in the city, including more taxis. The City of Vancouver and the provincial government should take action to expand the number of options available, before the busy holiday season."

Heath said that Uber is currently operating in over 40 cities across Canada, and that British Columbians are "clamouring for it here as well."