Vancouver council's final motion on taxi service goes beyond delaying Uber and maintaining moratorium on new licences

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      Last night, the Georgia Straight reported that Vancouver city council refused to give a green light to the ride-sharing company Uber.

      In addition, council also voted to extend a temporary moratorium on new taxi licences for 12 months.

      The final amended motion, which was approved unanimously, also covered a range of other issues, including enforcement, under the vehicle for hire bylaw.

      Council voted to "commence regular enforcement actions to identify and issue fines to taxi drivers operating in Vancouver without a licence or in violation of their licence conditions".

      The motion mentioned that these enforcement measures would be reported back to council and called for a letter to be sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's passenger transportation branch requesting "additional concerted enforcement against taxis".

      Fines for taxis operating without a licence will increase from $250 to $500.

      Meanwhile, limousines could also face more regulations.

      That's because the motion calls upon staff to examine options "for phasing in requirements for limousines to meet a minimum environmental performance standard for fuel efficiency".

      Another provision raises the prospect of enabling taxi sharing for certain trips and how the city's policy "can support the integration of the Compass Card system with taxis".

      In addition, the motion addressed service to passengers with disabilities.

      It instructed staff to "report back on the appropriate action to remedy the shortage of accessible taxis in Vancouver, and to ensure that service quality and wait times for accessible taxis are equivalent to those for non-accessible taxis".

      Another provision expressed council's strong support for the Vancouver Taxi Association's efforts to obtain 58 wheelchair-accessible taxi licences in Vancouver.

      Council also voted to back the association's bid to change licence conditions for all 78 existing wheelchair-accessible licences to remove the "one-for-one requirement". This discourages use of these vehicles during peak times. 

      In addition, council voted to require drivers of accessible taxis to wait at least five minutes for the passenger to arrive and, if necessary, provide door-to-door service by accompanying the passenger.

      That's on top of a requirement to carry disabled passenger's items to the door and wait for paramedics to arrive if there's an emergency.

      There's also a requirement that taxi drivers help passengers entering their vehicle and loading and unloading belongings. In addition, taxi drivers must pass a training program on transporting passengers with disabilities.