Traffic

A new tax on drivers, called mobility pricing, is proposed in a report going Monday to Kelowna city council.

A new tax on drivers should be considered in Kelowna, a city report says.

The idea of "mobility pricing" is raised in a new transportation plan that was reviewed Monday afternoon by city council.

"A dynamic user-pay system for access to the transportation network could become a critical tool to manage congestion," the report states.

The report gives no indication of how much the proposed user-pay tax on driving would be, or how it would be collected.

But it suggests city and regional officials begin working now with the province to explore new "transportation-related revenue tools" that could be applied in the Central Okanagan.

Elsewhere, mobility pricing - which is also known as congestion charges - typically require drivers pay fees to enter certain zones, like downtown areas, or use roads at specified times of the day, like rush hours.

In Vancouver, municipal officials are considering charging drivers $8 a day to enter the city's metro core.

The fees, officials say, will reduce carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion, improve the use of public space, and promote greater transit ridership.

The system, which could become operational by 2025, would use cameras mounted on main roads to capture licence plates and send a bill to the vehicle's registered owner.

In the Central Okanagan, 86% of all trips made by people in 2018 were as a driver or a passenger in a private vehicle, down marginally from previous years, the newly-updated transportation study says.

Other proposals in the new transportation plan to be reviewed by city council include adding 81 km of new bicycle lanes and hiking trails, and creating a bus-only Kelowna-bound lane on the W.R. Bennett bridge.

At Monday's meeting, none of the councillors remarked on the suggestion for a new tax on Kelowna drivers.