Passenger Transportation Vehicle & Licence Types

The type of vehicle you operate and the service you plan on providing determine what type of licence you need.

In British Columbia, commercial passenger vehicle operators must have a passenger transportation licence. A licence tells you what service you can provide with your vehicles. Certain vehicles are exempt.

If you're not sure if your service is exempted, contact the Registrar.

Definitions

The Passenger Transportation Act sets out three types of commercial passenger vehicles

  1. Passenger Directed Vehicles
  2. Inter-City Buses
  3. General Passenger Vehicles

There are two types of passenger transportation licences—special authorization and general authorization. Once you’ve determined the type of licence you need for the type of vehicle and the service you will provide, read the requirements and apply for that licence.

Passenger Directed Vehicles

Passenger directed vehicles are those where the passenger, or their representative, determines where the vehicle travels.

Passenger Directed Vehicles (11 passengers or less)

Examples of passenger directed vehicles with 11 passengers or less:

  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Small shuttle buses
  • Ride-hail vehicles
  • Other passenger type vehicles with a carrying capacity of 11 passengers or less, excluding the driver

Passenger directed vehicles carrying 11 passengers or less (excluding the driver) require a special authorization licence.

Passenger Directed Vehicles (12 passengers or more)

Passenger directed vehicles with forward-facing seats that carry 12 or more passengers (excluding the driver) require a general authorizaton licence.

Passenger Directed with Primarily Perimeter-Seating

Passenger directed vehicles that have primarily perimeter-seating require a special authorization licence.

Exclusions

Even though the vehicle and service may meet the definition of a passenger directed vehicle, you may need a general authorization licence, not a special authorization licence.

Inter-City Buses

These vehicles provide scheduled services between municipalities, cities or regions. For example inter-city buses operate on a set time schedule, over a set route between fixed terminating points and charge individual fares. Public transit buses are not inter-city buses.

Inter-city buses of any size require a special authorization licence.

General Passenger Vehicles

General Passenger Vehicles (GPVs) are all commercial passenger vehicles that are not passenger directed vehicles or inter-city buses.

Examples of General Passenger Vehicles are

  • Tour or charter or sightseeing buses 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.)

General passenger vehicles of any size require a general authorization licence.

Have more questions about what licence and authorization you need?

Read Do I need a General Authorization or a Special Authorization Licence? (PTR_9005)(PDF) for more details.