Vancouver Taxi Association, Other Taxi Companies Fight Back Against Ride-Hailing

Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft finally began operations in Vancouver this past weekend, but taxi companies are not happy about it.

According to a new report from the Vancouver Sun, nine Metro Vancouver taxi companies — including the Vancouver Taxi Association — are heading to B.C. Supreme Court to stop them. The companies filed two charges Monday: One is to immediately stop Uber and Lyft from running, while the other is a petition to quash their licences.

Peter Gall, Vancouver Taxi Association’s lawyer, said that the court would be asked on February 4 to issue an injunction against that Passenger Transportation Board’s current ride-hailing rules. The court is currently reviewing Monday’s legal petitions filed by the various associations.

Gall says that the association is of the opinion that the Passenger Transportation Board has given companies like Uber and Lyft an advantage over taxi companies by not imposing fleet-size restrictions.

He said the board is not allowed to issue any licence unless “it promotes sound economic conditions.”

“The Passenger Transportation Board has to determine in advance what the impact will be on issuing licences on different terms than taxis,” Gall said. “Taxis are saying we are restricted as to numbers, we are restricted as to price.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is of the same mind, stating that bylaw officers will be increasing enforcement against Uber drivers picking up passengers in the city, going against provincial regulations, Uber, and some members of his own council.

“We gave Uber a grace period over the weekend by issuing warning tickets for non-compliance,” he said. “I felt that was only fair to give them an opportunity to comply.”

On Monday, McCallum said 18 warnings had been issued to Uber drivers to date. “For those who continue to operate in Surrey, there will no longer be any warning tickets and any violators caught will be ticketed and face a fine of $500,” he said during a press conference.

“Ride-hailing, in a regulated industry, has a very unfair advantage. Government has a role to play and I would argue has a responsibility to ensure there is fair competition between the taxi service industry and the ride-hailing components,” McCallum told reporters.

McCallum said a business licence is required. “Until that happens,” he said, “Uber is operating illegally in Surrey.”

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