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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.