Many British Columbians are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Uber and other ride-hailing services in the province – but Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum isn't one of them.
On Tuesday, McCallum penned an open letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan slamming the ride-hailing regulations unveiled last week by the Passenger Transportation Board.
The mayor highlighted two issues in particular: the lack of any limits on fleet sizes, and the massive pick-up boundaries that companies like Lyft and Uber will enjoy.
The latter will create a "distinctly unlevel playing field" between ride-hailing services and taxis, McCallum said.
"To create a fair market environment, both ride-hailing companies and the taxi industry should be subject to the same regulations and restrictions. Anything less is unacceptable," he wrote in the letter.
On fleet sizes, McCallum suggested an unrestricted influx of ride-hailing vehicles would worsen the region's traffic problems and cause a "further erosion of air quality."
"A better solution may be to initially limit the number of ride-hailing vehicles with a view to increasing that number as demand dictates. This would result in less congestion, less impact on air quality and would allow for the taxi industry to initially retain more market share," the mayor said.
McCallum doesn’t threaten to take any action if his concerns aren't addressed, and it's not clear what power Surrey could have to thwart ride-hailing anyway, as it is regulated provincially.
He was not available to answer questions about his remarks on Tuesday.
The mayor isn't the only one to speak out against the new rules. The taxi industry has echoed his concerns, also noting that ride-hailing companies will pay less for insurance, while Lyft has questioned whether it will be able to build a sizable fleet given that drivers will all be required to hold Class 4 licences.