(Esquimalt Taxi/Jay Wallace Images)

B.C.’s provincial government announced on Monday that it will reduce annual licence fees for the taxi industry to help operators who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province says that fees were dropped on June 22 for commercial operators with Passenger Directed Vehicle Authorization, including taxi and limousine operators.

These annual fees have been cut in half from $100 per vehicle with no overall fee cap to $50 per vehicle with a fee cap of $5,000.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says the government has been hearing from operators and drivers about the impact of COVID-19 on their industry.

“Lowering the annual licence fee is just one of the ways our government can step in and help this industry as we continue to reopen and recover together,” said Trevena.

This announcement follows earlier moves the government says it has taken to help the passenger transportation industry.

These include waiving plate fees during COVID-19,  temporarily suspending insurance payments for fleet and non-fleet customers, and allowing existing licensees to defer passenger transportation renewal fee for up to six months.