Published: Sat, February 01, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Ride-hailing in Vancouver experiences growing pains, detours to courts

Ride-hailing in Vancouver experiences growing pains, detours to courts

McCallum said that he supports ride-hailing, but it's a service he doesn't want in Surrey until there is parity between the rules governing ride-hailing and taxi companies.

"Free enterprise only works best when everybody has the same rules", said Mr. Dhaliwal, who praised Burnaby-based cab company Bonny's Taxi for its community service in providing rides for people in wheelchairs.

The latest twist, after the provincial Passenger Transportation Board recently granted operating approval to Uber and Lyft, is that Uber is now seeking an injunction to stop the City of Surrey from ticketing its drivers.

"The Passenger Transportation Board has to determine in advance what the impact will be on issuing licences on different terms than taxis", Gall said.

The head of Uber's Western Canada division, Michael Van Hemmen, says Surrey doesn't have a business licence for the company to purchase but drivers are still being fined.

In Surrey, where Mayor Doug McCallum has strongly opposed ride hailing, there is no available business licence for the services.

Uber/Lyft driver Adam Santos told Postmedia that he knew of two other drivers who were nabbed by Surrey bylaw officers in Sunday's sting.

And while the company did not specify what exactly this legal action would - or does - entail, the company told Daily Hive that BC Premier John Horgan and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena "have been very clear that municipalities do not have the authority to prevent ridesharing companies from operating".

"The City of Surrey does not have a business licence for ride sharing ... and then the city says, 'You're operating without a business licence'".

"They completely lied to us", Bauer said to CBC.

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However, the petition claims that the taxi companies' economic situation is "immediately and significantly" impacted by Uber and Lyft.

But Uber is not the only organization going to court.

The petition cited reports of reduced taxi business during Uber and Lyft's first week in the region, particularly at the Vancouver International Airport and hotel taxi stands.

When he told her that he was, two uniformed City of Surrey bylaw officers approached from the other side of the vehicle and told him that he was operating without a business licence.

"I respect Mr McCallum's opinion on this, but we can not limit the activities in Surrey as opposed to Coquitlam or Richmond".

He argued ride-hailing companies have an unfair advantage over taxis because of differences like lower fees and required driving experience.

Association lawyer Peter Gall said the court would be asked on February 4 to issue an injunction against the Passenger Transportation Board's ride-hailing rules, while the court reviews a legal petition filed by the association on Monday.

"The whole argument of the taxis is, give us an even playing field", he said.

"This will especially be the case with Class 4 drivers licence requirement", said Catherine Reid, PTB chair, when the board set out conditions for ride-hailing operations.

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