Business licence required for ride-hailing companies

Male driver hand holding on steering wheel using smartphone for GPS navigation. Mobile phone mounting with magnet on the car console in modern car. Urban driving lifestyle with mobile app technology


City Council on Ocober 2, 2019 set conditions for issuing a business licence for ride-hailing companies and approved street-management policies to further city goals related to climate change, mobility and transportation.


  • Vancouver adopts its first congestion fee, requiring ride hailing companies to pay for pick up and drop offs in the downtown core from 7 am to 7 pm as a condition for a business licence.
  • Ride-hailing is expected to increase travel options and encourage a car-fee lifestyle, advancing the city’s climate-emergency response.
  • Ride-hailing in some cities has increased congestion and pollution, and reduced transit ridership, walking and cycling.


The city decided on Oct. 2, 2019 to require ride-hailing companies to obtain a business licence in addition to the BC government fee for an annual licence and an application fee. The city set fees and conditions for a ride-hailing business licence.

In addition to a licence fee, a congestion fee was imposed at $0.30 per pick up and $0.30 cents per drop off, with discounts for zero-emission and wheelchair accessible vehicles. Conservative estimates indicate the congestion fee could generate between $200,000 and $400,000 in 2020

Licensing fees are proposed at $155 for a company licence plus $100 per vehicle. To incentivize vehicles that align with City priorities, the annual fee for wheelchair accessible and zero emission vehicles is waived.

BC government retains sole authority to regulate fleet size and operational boundaries, set vehicle standards and issue driver chauffeur permits. The city has authority to regulate street usage and traffic and issue business licences.

Nine companies applied to operate in the region that includes Vancouver.

Ride-hailing is regulated in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, and Winnipeg. Business licensing structure and regulations vary among cities, as does the degree of provincial verses municipal oversight and regulatory authority.


City of Vancouver staff report to city council Oct 2, 2019.

City of Vancouver staff presentation to city council. Oct 2, 2019.

City of Vancouver business licence website. Retrieved November 8, 2019.

Prepared by: Robert Matas, Vancouver City Planning Commissioner
Last Updated: December 9, 2019