An Uber driver is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft say they are on the road in Metro Vancouver with limited service, less than a day after receiving long-awaited approval for an operating licence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

A group of nine taxi companies in Metro Vancouver has filed a petition against the Passenger Transportation Board and two major ride-hailing companies.

In a petition filed Monday at the B.C. Supreme Court, the Vancouver Taxi Association asked a judge to quash Uber and Lyft’s ride-hailing licence. While that case is being heard, the association is asking the court to grant a temporary injunction against the Passenger Transportation Board to stop Uber and Lyft’s operation.

The board approved ride-hailing licences for the two companies on Thursday and drivers were on the roads the next day. Both companies received licences that will allow them to operate in the entire Lower Mainland but so far, Uber cuts off the the eastern edge of the Tri-Cities and does not operate in South Surrey, White Rock or Langley. Lyft operates only within a portion of Vancouver and at the Vancouver International Airport.

Uber operating area in Vancouver as of January 2020. (Uber)

Lyft operating area in Vancouver as of January 2020. (Lyt)

The association is alleging the board allowed Uber and Lyft to “flood the market… to destroy the existing taxi industry” by not imposing the same regulations on ride-hailing companies as are set for taxis.

The petition claims there was “no consideration given by the board to the extremely harmful financial impact” of ride-hailing on the taxi industry, partially by not taking into account that taxi companies have higher licensing costs and must pay for dispatch and call centres, while ride-hailing companies rely on apps alone.

The association specifically took issue at the board’s decision to not impose limits on fleet size for ride-hailing companies and to let them operate in larger geographic areas than taxis.

The petition also alleges that not forcing ride-hailing companies to provide service to disabled passengers in accessible vehicles and not making them have cameras installed in cars is against the public interest.

The taxi association is not the only one to take issue with ride-hailing. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has said Uber drivers will receive a $500 fine from bylaw officers if they are caught operating in Surrey, although the province said municipalities cannot impose such rule.

Neither the board, Uber nor Lyft have responded to the petition. The association’s claims have not been proven in court.

READ MORE: Surrey bylaw’s tactics with Uber drivers deemed ‘entrapment’ and ‘completely wrong’

READ MORE: South Surrey/White Rock residents snubbed on ride-hailing services


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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