Mayors from Metro Vancouver almost all voted Thursday to fast-track a regional business licence model for ridesharing companies at the TransLink mayor’s council.
All, that is, except for one.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was the sole voice of opposition around the table — voting against the motion because many residents of Surrey don’t want ridesharing in the city at all, he said.
“Again, a large amount of our residents in the city of Surrey do not support ridehailing,” McCallum argued.
He said he knows that from speaking with members of the community during his 2018 election campaign.
But two surveys coming out of Surrey in the past year paint a different picture of how people living in the city feel about ridesharing.
A poll from Mainstreet Research, conducted in July 2019, found 78 per cent of Surrey residents think ridesharing should be an option in Metro Vancouver — with 74 per cent saying the provincial government should implement it “as soon as possible.”
“The results of this survey are clear,” said Mainstreet Research vice-president Joseph Angolano in July.
“Surrey residents strongly want to see a legal, safe, and well-regulated ridesharing industry with drivers meeting strict requirements.”
Meanwhile, a survey sent out to about 6,000 Surrey Board of Trade business contacts in May yielded similar results.
CEO Anita Huberman says the survey had one of the board’s highest response rates — over 60 per cent. Of those, 90 per cent said they strongly supported ridesharing services in Surrey.
“So I think that’s telling, it gives a very good pulse of what the business community wants,” Huberman said.
Huberman said she’s not sure where McCallum got his numbers from.
“He could be getting it from those that he speaks to that voted for him, so he’s staying steadfast and resolute to that perspective,” she said.
“And again, I’m not sure exactly where those responses or those numbers are coming from.”
But Huberman said she wasn’t shocked by McCallum’s comments, because he’s “made it clear that he doesn’t want the ridesharing industry to exist in Surrey.”
McCallum told reporters Thursday he’s listening to concerns from members of the taxi industry.
“And so we have a lot of our residents involved in the taxi industry, and they’re very, very upset at the fact that there isn’t a level playing field in a number of various regulations and so forth,” he said.
McCallum said at the mayors council that operations like Uber and Lyft are not welcome in his community, and he is vowing to stop them.
Global News has requested comment from McCallum on the results of the surveys.