Uber vows to keep Surrey service going despite mayor's threats

Darnell Taylor
January 28, 2020

Bauer argued that there is now a cap on taxis in the region of 2,500 vehicles, which she said should be equally applied to ride-hailing fleets. But he reiterated, "it has to be on a level playing field with the taxi industry".

Uber and Lyft are finally on the road in the Lower Mainland, after the provincial Passenger Transportation Board approved the ride-hailing companies' applications to operate. He did not elaborate.

Uber driver Carlos Altamirano Medina told Postmedia News on Sunday that he had been tricked into accepting a fare out of Surrey, as part of that city's war on ride-hailing.

Medina said a woman outside the store asked if he was an Uber driver, and he answered yes. "No other city is taking this approach".

Medina, who quit his job to become a full time Uber driver, told CTV News he felt like he'd been lured and harassed.

One is an injunction application seeking to immediately stop Uber and Lyft's from conducting business, while the second challenge, a petition to quash their licences, is heard.

"Surrey has requested that Uber pause operations, but we respectfully decline", the ride-hailing company said in a statement.

Surrey Mayor Doug Mc Callum addresses his concerns regarding ride hailing at City Hall in Surrey BC
Surrey Mayor Doug Mc Callum addresses his concerns regarding ride hailing at City Hall in Surrey BC

But van Hemmen said the threat of local fines won't keep Uber out of Surrey. "Until a decision is made, ride-hailing companies are precluded from operating within Surrey's boundaries".

But neither company is licensed to operate in Burnaby and "those operating without a licence could be subject to fines", according to City of Burnaby spokesperson Chris Bryan.

The reasoning is that Uber, which just began operating Friday morning in the Lower Mainland after years of delays, does not have the proper business licence to operate in Surrey, Hundial said.

"No, we're not", McCallum responded. The regional licence will likely be in effect by April, according to Bryan. The TransLink Mayors Council is now reviewing a report that suggests one could be put into practice as soon as late March or early April.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said municipalities can set requirements for business licences for ride-hailing operators but provincial laws prohibit blocking ride-hailing altogether.

It is also unclear if Surrey might impose its own business licence, in addition. The fees mirror those the city applies to taxis. Within a minute, four different calls for pickups came from four different Surrey neighbourhoods.

Councillor Jack Hundial said council did not receive a copy of the notice but he confirmed the news with city staff. "It's not just up to you". "They want this service".

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