Edmonton’s vehicle-for-hire industry pleads for licence fee removal to help recover from COVID-19 pandemic

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In response to the concerns raised by Burtic and five others, the committee passed a recommendation for council to waive limousine fees by 100 per cent and keep the discount for taxis and other vehicles at 50 per cent. All councillors will vote on the recommendation Monday.

The successful motion will also have city officials return with the cost implications of waiving the fees and how it would impact funding other vehicle-for-hire initiatives such as enforcement and accessibility.

If the recommendation is approved, the city will be able to absorb the lost revenues through the vehicle-for-hire reserve. Currently, the reserve contains $2.2 million and will still sit at a surplus of $627,000 if the fees are waived.

Coun. Mike Nickel said the vehicle-for-hire reserve is funded by the companies through the licence fees and argued it is only fair for them to get this money back to address the economic crisis they are facing. He said he will be advocating for other councillors to support waiving the licence fees by 100 per cent for all vehicle-for-hire providers.

“All this industry is asking for is to get some of their money back. This reserve fund, it was made off of basically levies and fees that were put on the industry,” Nickel said. “We have an immediate problem right now. We are in an economic crisis, so as far as I’m concerned I think councillors should see its way to give them 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, the committee supported a recommendation for the city to sell the naming rights of four recreation centres and Re/Max Field. The city anticipates this could generate about $5 million in revenue over the next seven to 10 years that would go toward offsetting operational costs of these facilities.

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