Vancouver taxi companies file lawsuit against Uber
Ride-sharing company Uber may be advertising to local drivers and meeting with city officials but that doesn’t mean it’s coming to Vancouver any time soon. (CTV)
Uber isn’t even operating in Vancouver yet, but that hasn’t stopped local taxi companies from suing the U.S.-based ridesharing service.
The Vancouver Taxi Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing Uber will have an unfair edge if it launches without jumping through the same regulatory hoops cab companies do.
The association is also seeking an injunction barring Uber from operating “for any period of time outside of the law,” according to a press release.
To operate a taxi in Vancouver, companies need licences from the provincial Passenger Transportation Board and the city. The VTA said Uber has neither, and doesn’t intend to get them.
“It does not want to be restrained by regulations established to ensure that the public interest is protected,” the VTA said.
Uber isn’t currently operating in Vancouver, but rumours have swirled about a pending surprise launch, and the company put up postings for management jobs in the city last month.
Uber responded to the lawsuit by accusing the VTA of guarding its own interests, and not those of the consumers.
“This lawsuit is a prime example of the Vancouver taxi industry’s singular goal: protecting its own cartel,” Uber spokesperson Arielle Goren said in a statement.
The B.C. government has already threatened to deploy undercover agents posing as passengers to fine Uber if the company does launch without the proper licenses.
The current maximum fine is $5,000, though the B.C. NDP has introduced a bill to up the penalty to $20,000.
Uber recently ran into similar regulatory trouble in Ottawa, though the company insists it is not a taxi service, but a technology company, and shouldn’t be subject to taxi rules.