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Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Registrar, Passenger Transportation Branch

Rides Home - Information for Establishments Serving Alcoholic Beverages

DID YOU KNOW?

British Columbia laws provide the flexibility needed to enable establishments that offer alcoholic beverages to get their patrons home safely. In addition to traditional operators such as taxis, limousines, shuttles, and “designated driver” services, other types of passenger transportation services can operate legally in B.C.

An establishment may...

  • Offer a “designated driver” service – a staff member can drive a patron home in the patron’s vehicle without the need for a passenger transportation licence.
    • the driver must be licensed to operate the patron’s class of vehicle
  • Provide a free shuttle service for their patrons – a passenger transportation licence is not required to operate a free transportation service - establishments may determine the circumstances under which a free ride may be offered to patrons.
    • if the vehicle can carry 10 or fewer passengers including the driver, a class 5 driver’s licence is needed; if the vehicle can carry more than 10 passengers including the driver, a class 4 licence is required
  • Contract with existing fee-based transportation service providers – an existing passenger transportation licence holder or “designated driver” service can provide fee-based shuttle services for your patrons.
  • Operate a fee-based shuttle service – using a vehicle that can carry more than 11 passengers enables business owners to operate under a “general authorization” licence issued by the Registrar of Passenger Transportation. A vehicle that carries 11 passengers or fewer requires a “special authorization” licence, also issued by the Registrar.
    • Generally a class 4 licence is required to operate a fee-based service.

The Passenger Transportation Act provides for two different types of licences, general authorization (GA) and special authorization (SA). Vehicles with a seating capacity of 11 passengers or fewer, generally taxis and limousines, require an SA licence. The Passenger Transportation Board evaluates SA applications through a three part test, including demonstration of public need, applicant fitness and impact on industry. SA applicants must also satisfy a series of safety requirements, including proper registration and insurance, and semi-annual vehicle inspections. Each SA licence specifies the geographical area in which an operator may work within, as well as the rates that may be charged.

Alternatively, applicants proposing to use larger vehicles, such as 15 passenger vans, require a GA licence. Applicants must meet safety requirements in order to obtain a GA licence, but are not required to satisfy the economic tests of the Board. GA licence holders are not permitted to accept hails, use a top light or have a meter in the vehicle. Rates and geographical operating area are not specified in a GA licence.

QUESTIONS?

  • Contact the Duty Inspector at the Passenger Transportation Branch at 604-527-2198 for further information on passenger transportation requirements. BC residents can call toll free through Enquiry BC (Victoria callers: 250-387-6121/Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-7867).
  • Consult an Autoplan agent for vehicle registration, insurance and commercial vehicle licensing requirements.
  • Contact ICBC Driver Licensing at 1-800-950-1498 should you have any questions with respect to the class of licence required to operate a specific vehicle.