Uber driver says he was ticketed by bylaw officers in Surrey
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver Uber driver says he was shocked to get a bylaw infraction ticket after he accepted a ride request in Surrey.
While other Metro Vancouver cities have welcomed the long-awaited ride hailing services Uber and Lyft, Surrey's mayor, Doug McCallum, has steadfastly opposed the business model, saying it poses unfair competition to taxi companies.
Carlos Medina started driving for Uber as soon as B.C.'s Passenger Transportation Board approved Uber and Lyft last week.
On Sunday, he had picked up a passenger at Vancouver International Airport and driven them to Surrey. A little before 2 p.m. he got another ride request: a passenger at the Safeway on King George.
As Medina approached, the passenger waved him over; he stopped and the woman asked if he was Carlos. As soon as he said yes, two uniformed bylaw officers approached him, told him they were from the City of Surrey, and informed him he didn't have a licence to operate in Surrey.
They also asked him to cancel the requested ride so the pretend passenger would not be charged, according to Medina .
They then gave him a warning notice, which says he's in violation of Surrey's business licence bylaw: "No person will carry on business in the city without holding a valid and subsisting licence." The notice says the possible fine is $500.
The officers also asked to see his drivers licence and car insurance.
Medina said he was shocked, and even asked two nearby RCMP officers if the bylaw officers had the right to ask to see his licence and insurance.
The interaction ended with the bylaw officers telling him he can drop passengers off in Surrey, but Uber drivers can't pick anyone up.
Medina has only driven a handful of passengers so far, and said he had gotten consistent five-star reviews. But, he says, he ended up getting a poor review for the cancelled ride, which has pulled down his overall average.
CTV News has reached out to the City of Surrey and to Uber's Western Canada representative, Michael van Hemmen. The City of Surrey had not responded as of 7 p.m. Sunday.
In an email, van Hemmen reiterated his company's position on the issue.
“Premier Horgan has been clear that municipalities do not have the authority to prevent ridesharing companies from operating," he said. "Uber and drivers have all the required approvals from the provincial government and the Passenger Transportation Board to operate in Metro Vancouver. We do not believe there is any legal basis for drivers to be fined by the City of Surrey.”