The City of Surrey plans to put more taxis on the road.
Council gave third reading Monday to a motion that will increase the number of city-issued cab licences by 22, bringing the total to 388.
The vote came the evening before the province announced plans to bring ride-sharing services like Uber into B.C., should the BC Liberals return to power in the May 9 election.
According to Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of bylaws and licensing services, the timeframe between the province’s announcement and the city’s motion was coincidental.
“We were part of the consultation process originally when they were looking at the ride-sharing, and we provided some comments then,” Rehal said. “We’re still looking into kind of what this announcement really means for the city.”
Under Surrey’s Vehicle for Hire bylaw, only the cab industry is allowed to request an increase in available licences, which would then have to be approved by the city and the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB).
PTB director Jan Broocke told Peace Arch News Tuesday that the Passenger Transportation Act mandates three things in approving an application: public need for the service, applicant fitness “and whether approval of the application would promote sound economic conditions in the transportation business in B.C.”
According to a city report, the Vehicle for Hire bylaw sets a maximum of 326 issued licences, but “a recent review conducted by both city staff and the (transportation board) found a discrepancy in the total number of taxicab licences previously reported to council.”
The review revealed the city had actually issued 366 cab licences.
In support of the taxi industry, provincial leaders announced Tuesday that they will be working with municipalities to address the shortage of taxis.