9 Metro Vancouver cab companies file legal challenges to halt Uber, Lyft
VANCOUVER -- The battle over ride hailing is heating up in Metro Vancouver as a group of local cab companies is taking Uber, Lyft and Passenger Transportation Board to B.C. Supreme Court to try and stop service in the region.
Nine Metro Vancouver cab companies have teamed up and filed two legal challenges.
They're seeking an injunction to halt Uber and Lyft's Services, while a petition to rescind their licences goes before the court.
Court documents name Yellow Cab, Black Top Cabs, Maclure's Cabs, Vancouver Taxi, North Shore Taxi, Richmond Cabs, Bonny's Taxi, Burnaby Select Metrotown Taxi and Queen City Taxi as the petitioners.
They claim the PTB is allowing ride hailing companies to operate on more favourable terms than taxis.
"The cornerstone of the regulation of the taxi industry has always been the limit on the number of taxi licences that are granted for a particular geographic area," reads the petition.
"These limits have been imposed to prevent the destructive competition that would occur if there were unlimited entry into this field – which would result in none of the participants being able to make a living," it goes on to say.
The legal challenges aren't the only strategy the BC Taxi Association is adopting.
"The companies going forward from this day on will not subsidize our accessible vehicles," said Carolyn Bauer a spokesperson for the association.
"We are stopping our policy plan and we are moving forward with if the drivers go, they go, if they don't they don't, we are not going to subsidize any more payments for them," Bauer told CTV News.
The Taxi Association says it won't subsidize drivers with accessible vehicles because they are too expensive to operate.
However, that strategy is putting customers who depend on taxis in the middle.
Jonquil Hallgate relies on cabs to get her to and from her Surrey home.
She's living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a severe form of arthritis that has left her wheelchair bound.
She says taxi availability and pricing is a major barrier.
"I would like to see ride-sharing here, even though they don’t have accessible vehicles because I hope that means there will be more accessible taxis available for me," Hallgate told CTV News.
She was on hand for Surrey's city council meeting Monday night to see what the councillors had to say on the issue.
It was touched on briefly by Coun. Linda Annis during the meeting.
Annis is supportive of ride share and put forth a motion asking city staff for a corporate report on ride hailing, to clarify what the city actually has the power to do and how to best move forward.
She said the purpose of the motion was to prevent the city from being in a standstill.
"To get the city to deal with ride hailing sooner as opposed to later," Annis said following the meeting.
"The residents of Surrey have been waiting for ride hailing for quite some time now and quite honestly I'm embarrassed that Vancouver is ready to go and Surrey is not," said Annis.
The report is expected back at the next council meeting Feb. 10.
In the meantime, Uber says it is preparing legal action to stay in the city.
"It is highly unfortunate that the mayor is threatening drivers with fines that have no legal basis," Uber in a statement.
"The Uber app will continue to be available to the residents and visitors of Surrey within our service area, and we will be preparing legal action to defend the right to access Uber's apps."