*This story has been updated with comments from Lyft
Ride-hailing company Lyft announced today (Monday) that it’s starting up operations in several new areas – just not Burnaby.
“Lyft is expanding its operating region and will now be serving all of the City of Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster and North Surrey,” said a news release.
The NOW asked the person who issued the Lyft news release why Burnaby wasn’t included in the expansion.
In an email, Lyft said “the current licence available in Burnaby is their “tax business licence, which we view as cost-prohibitive given the number of vehicles on our platform is always fluid.”
City council unanimously approved in December a plan to charge companies such as Uber and Lyft a $600 annual fee, followed by a $180 annual renewal, as well as a $510-per-vehicle annual licence, followed by a $280 annual renewal. The fee structure is identical to the city’s current taxi licensing program.
The response said Lyft is “looking forward” to the inter-municipal business licence proposed by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation that Burnaby has said it supports.
The Mayors’ Council is encouraging municipalities to harmonize current municipal fees for taxis with fees set out in the IMBL.
“Lyft believes the long-term regional approach will best serve the needs of the region’s residents and visitors.”
To support drivers, Lyft has opened three driver hub locations: Surrey, Richmond and the City of Vancouver.
Lyft has also partnered with Valley Driving School to help prospective drivers obtain their Class 4 commercial licence, and is offering incentives to new drivers.
Those interested in becoming a driver with Lyft can visit www.lyft.com/vancouver.