Advertisement

Lower Mainland taxi companies file lawsuit seeking to overturn B.C. ride-hailing licences

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Taxi Association files new lawsuit against Passenger Transportation Board' Vancouver Taxi Association files new lawsuit against Passenger Transportation Board
WATCH: Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum not the only one pushing back against ride-hailing. Taxi companies are taking Uber and Lyft to the Supreme Court. Sarah MacDonald reports – Jan 28, 2020

A consortium of Metro Vancouver taxi companies is going to court to try and overturn Uber and Lyft’s licence to operate in the province.

The group, which includes nine companies, filed two legal challenges in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

One is an application for an emergency injunction against the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) and the two ride-hailing companies that would prevent the services from operating while the other legal challenge is heard.

READ MORE: Surrey, B.C. mayor doubles down on Uber crackdown, says company ‘operating illegally’

The second seeks to have Uber and Lyft’s PTB licences quashed.

“The Board has improperly dismissed the impact on the taxi industry by saying, in effect, that the economic devastation the Board is inflicting on them was their own fault for creating a market for taxi shares, and that they should have seen it coming,” says the court filing.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Political Panel: Surrey battles ride-hailing companies' Political Panel: Surrey battles ride-hailing companies
Political Panel: Surrey battles ride-hailing companies – Jan 26, 2020

“It is clear, therefore, that in the issuance of its Lyft and Uber decisions, the Board simply applied its Policy Decision, basing its decision on what it considered best for Lyft and Uber, rather than what was best for the public interest.”

Carolyn Bauer with the Vancouver Taxi Association says the core of the companies’ argument is that the province’s ride-hailing regulations create an unfair playing field for taxi companies.

We’re not against Uber and Lyft,” said Bauer.

READ MORE: ‘We respectfully decline’: Uber, Lyft respond to Surrey’s efforts to halt ride-hailing

Bauer argued that there is currently a cap on taxis in the region of 2,500 vehicles, which she said should be equally applied to ride-hailing fleets.

Story continues below advertisement

She said ride-hailing fares were predatory in comparison with taxi fares, which are regulated by the PTB, and that taxis currently pay a much higher insurance rate than the new services.

Click to play video: 'Surrey threatens to fine ride-hailing drivers found operating in the city' Surrey threatens to fine ride-hailing drivers found operating in the city
Surrey threatens to fine ride-hailing drivers found operating in the city – Jan 25, 2020
“Back in August of 2019, the board issued a decision saying that Uber and Lyft was going would have no limit placed on fleet size and pricing,” she said.

Why can’t we just keep on a level playing field, even playing field?”

Bauer said the taxi industry also currently subsidizes drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles, something she said it will no longer do.

Uber and Lyft both said they have not had a chance to review the lawsuit, so can not comment on it yet.

Global News has requested comment from the Ministry of Transportation to the court filings.

Sponsored content