Registrar, Passenger Transportation Board
Registrar, Passenger Transportation Branch
Welcome to the website of the Registrar of Passenger Transportation (Registrar)
Revised: February 27, 2015
If you currently operate a stretch SUV or limo bus,
read this important Industry Notice.
This website provides information about the licensing requirements for those currently involved in, or wanting to obtain authority for, operating commercial ground passenger transportation services in British Columbia.
In addition, this website provides detailed information, including associated application forms and approval processes, for the two types of licences established by the Passenger Transportation Act.
Individuals and companies who operate commercial passenger vehicles in British Columbia require a passenger transportation licence issued under the Passenger Transportation Act and the Passenger Transportation Regulation.
The Act and associated Regulation received Royal Assent on May 13, 2004, replacing the Motor Carrier Act, and establishing a new regulatory structure for licensing commercial passenger vehicles. The Act continues to maintain public safety while making it easy for operators to enter the marketplace and respond to changing business needs.
The Regulation addresses the operation of commercial passenger vehicles and the conditions that apply to each category of operation. The Regulation also identifies certain types of vehicles that are exempt from requiring a passenger transportation licence which are detailed in Part 1, Section 5 (Licence Exemptions) of the Regulation.
In addition, the Act created a series of offences for which tickets may be issued and are subject to prosecution in the courts. These sanctions apply to both licensed and unlicensed operators. The Act also allows the Registrar of Passenger Transportation to impose Administrative Penalties solely against licensees, in non-compliance of the Act and Regulation.
The Passenger Transportation Act sets out:
- Two types of passenger transportation licence authorization:
- special authorization
- general authorization
- Three types of commercial passenger vehicles:
- passenger directed vehicles
- inter-city buses
- general passenger vehicles
The type of passenger transportation licence required will depend on:
- the type(s) of commercial passenger vehicle used
- the service(s) provided
The following vehicles and services require a Special Authorization Licence:
- Inter-city Buses such as vehicles providing scheduled services (set time schedule, for individual fares, over a regular route between fixed terminating points)
- Passenger Directed Vehicles, such as taxis, limousines and small shuttle buses or other passenger type vehicles with a carrying capacity of 11 passengers or less, excluding the driver, or any size of vehicle with primarily perimeter seating.
Vehicles and services requiring Special Authorization must obtain approval from the Passenger Transportation Board (Board) and are considered on the basis of the three part test set out in section 28(1) of the Passenger Transportation Act. Applicants are advised to visit the Boards website for further information on the Special Authorization Licence application process. If the Board approves an application for Special Authorization the applicant must demonstrate to the Registrar of Passenger Transportation that they have met all safety requirements before a licence can be issued.
The following vehicles and services require a General Authorization Licence:
- General Passenger Vehicles such as charter buses or other types of vehicles with forward facing seats designed to carry 12 passengers or more, excluding the driver.
- Vehicles designed to carry 11 passengers or less, excluding the driver, or perimeter seating vehicles provided the services are carrier directed such as sightseeing tours.
Examples of General Passenger Vehicles include:
- Tour or charter or sightseeing buses with primarily forward facing seats that have a carrying capacity of a driver and 12 or more passengers. (These may be carrier directed or passenger directed services.)
- Sightseeing buses if all itineraries are set by the operator. (These are carrier-directed tours. Trips are not customized for passengers. Operators may use vehicles with a carrying capacity of a driver and 11 passengers or fewer.)
- Tour operations if all tours are set by the operator. (These are carrier-directed tours. Trips are not customized for passengers. Operators may use vehicles with a carrying capacity of a driver and 11 passengers or fewer.)
- Vehicles excluded from the definition of an Inter-city Bus
- Vehicles excluded from the definition of a Passenger Directed Vehicle
Vehicles and services requiring General Authorization must obtain approval from the Registrar of Passenger Transportation (Registrar). If the Registrar is satisfied that the proposed service appears to meet the criteria for a general authorization the applicant must demonstrate that they have met all the safety requirements before a licence can be issued.
The Passenger Transportation Regulation identifies certain types of vehicles that are excluded from the definition of an "Inter-city Bus", which are detailed in Part 1, Section 2 (Excluded Inter-city buses) of the Regulation, where a General Authorization passenger transportation licence will be required rather than a Special Authorization licence. The Regulations also identify certain types of vehicles that are excluded from the definition of a Passenger Directed Vehicle, which are detailed in Part 1, Section 3 (Excluded Passenger Directed Vehicles) of the Regulation, where a General Authorization passenger transportation licence will suffice.
The information sheet Do I need a General Authorization or a Special Authorization Licence? explains exemptions and provides an overview of the two passenger transportation licensing streams under the Passenger Transportation Act.
In the Passenger Transportation Branch's Coquitlam office, the Registrar accepts all applications (including those which require Board approval), verifies safety requirements for vehicles proposed for licensing, and issues all licences. The Registrar is also responsible for initiating compliance and enforcement actions against both licensed and unlicensed operators.
This website also provides a registry that consists of a monthly updated list of General Authorization Licences and a weekly updated list of General Authorization Application Decisions. The registry also provides links to the Passenger Transportation Board website for access to a list of Special Authorization approvals and the Weekly Bulletin which publishes notice of applications received and application decisions.