Delta council rejects motion to bring ride-hailing concern to UBCM
Delta City Council has rejected a motion to bring concerns about ride-hailing to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
Long-serving former mayor and current Coun. Lois Jackson says the Passenger Transportation Board’s policies on the service are lopsided. Jackson believes the issue goes far beyond Delta.
“I think this is a provincial matter. Council didn’t agree with me,” Jackson said.
Jackson believes the taxi industry is operating at a disadvantage.
“We have to have an equal playing field when it comes to rates and charges, when it comes to jurisdictions.”
Among the sticking points are the lack of fleet size limits for companies like Uber and Lyft, and the fact that they will have much larger pick-up zones than taxis. The former mayor wants those issues discussed next week at the UBCM Convention. Her colleagues on council disagreed, defeating her motion in a five to one vote.
“We are sending a letter to the premier and the Minister of Transportation asking them to look at the discrepancies, in order to establish a level playing field,” said George Harvie, Delta's mayor.
Jackson believes that strategy will not be effective.
“It will continue to go around the mullberry bush and province will continue to do what it wants to do,” said Jackson.
Her successor says believes a more direct approach will allow them to move forward more quickly.
“You need 60 per cent approval to the UBCM. I don’t want to delay anything to delay ride hailing moving forward.”
The plan received mixed reviews from local cabbies attending Monday night’s meeting.
“I think it’s excellent, everybody is realizing taxi drivers work hard, they need to make a living,” said Kulwant Sahota of the Vancouver Taxi Association.
Kulwant says his job is his livelihood. He’s adamant that most drivers are open to ride-hailing, they just want companies like Uber and Lyft to have to play by the same rules.
“Council, they know the issues, some of the issues. But some of the real issues how we serve, how it works. They have no idea,” said Harjinder Aujla, a cab driver.
Delta is not the only city pushing back against the province’s policy. White Rock, Langley and Surrey have also been vocal on the issue. Surrey’s Mayor Doug McCallum said last week he would not grant business licensees to ride-sharing companies. The province says the municipalities have little power.
“Provincial law restricts the authority of municipalities to regulate the supply and boundaries of taxis and ride hail vehicles. Only the Passenger Transportation Board is authorized to establish supply and boundaries for these services,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in a statement.
Ride-hailing legislation came into effect earlier this month. The PTB began accepting applications Sept. 3rd, it’s now reviewing at least seven.