WATCH: Debate continues over whether Uber should be allowed in Vancouver. Jeremy Hunka reports.
VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver has put a six-month moratorium on San Francisco-based ride-sharing app Uber from setting up in Vancouver.
The popular app was driven out of Vancouver in 2012 by the provincial Transportation Board. The regulator requested the company apply for a limousine licence, which requires consumers to spend a minimum of $75 per trip.
But recently rumours started surfacing that Uber was going to make a comeback in Vancouver and that has the taxi industry concerned. The app connects drivers to passengers, all online and unregulated.
“There’s a lot of things that we offer that Uber doesn’t offer,” said Kulwant Sahota, Yellow Cab president and spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association. “One of the reasons is safety. The drivers, they say they’re checked, are they being checked?”
“We go through inspections twice a year and we go through City Hall inspections twice a year too.”
Carolyn Bauer from Yellow Cab said Uber could also go through the same safety checks if they made the proper applications to the Passenger Safety Board.
“How can you put a 21-year-old with a Class 5 driver’s licence, that barely has driven on the road, on the road with no number of limit of vehicles that you’re going to be putting on the road. So we could end up with a thousand, 1,500, 2,000 cars on the road with 21 year olds or 65 year olds driving around not knowing who they are, picking up people, it’s just not right.”
“They need to be regulated.”
Uber said demand for the service in the area is high and they’ve already had to work around hundreds of different regulations in other cities.
Bauer said the taxi industry welcomes competition but it has to be on a level playing field.
“If it isn’t there then how do we compete?” he said.
“How are these people, that have built this taxi industry, going to pay their mortgages?”
Business experts say the rules should be the same for everyone.
“The incumbents do have a legitimate point that ‘hey, we’re playing by a very constrained set of rules’, for Uber to come in and get to play by an entirely different set of rules is unfair competition,” said Thomas Davidoff from the Sauder School of Business.