The mayor of B.C.'s second-largest city has vowed to block ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft from operating in his jurisdiction.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum made the promise during a surprise appearance at a meeting of taxi drivers in East Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon.
Even though the provincial NDP government now has the rules in place to regulate ride-hailing across B.C., McCallum suggested local governments still have the power to block companies if they so choose.
"The cities actually have one tool in their back pocket, and I'm going to use it," McCallum told the cheering crowd. "Every ride-sharing company needs to have a business licence to operate in Surrey – and I'm telling you today, we will not be issuing any business licences."
The controversial mayor has spoken out about ride-hailing previously, but never indicated he would work to prevent companies from operating in his cit.
Last month, McCallum penned an open letter to Premier John Horgan slamming the ride-hailing regulations that were decided by the independent Passenger Transportation Board.
The two main sticking points, the mayor said, were the lack of any limits on fleet sizes, and the massive pick-up boundaries that he argued would give companies like Uber and Lyft an unfair advantage over the cab industry.
"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," McCallum wrote in the letter.
The mayor isn't the only one fighting the pending arrival of ride-hailing in B.C., which consumers have spent years clamoring for. Cab companies are also seeking an injunction that could delay the process, according to Peter Gall, a lawyer representing the taxi industry.