Black Press Media file photo

Surrey mayor slams ride-hailing, again

Doug McCallum re-affirmed his opposition to ride-hailing in Surrey as the service ramps up

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum reiterated his stance against ride-hailing in this city on the eve of Uber announcing Wednesday it will apply for a licence to operate in the Lower Mainland.

Lyft is also planning to do business in Metro Vancouver.

McCallum stated in a press released issued by city hall Tuesday that he has written a letter to Premier John Horgan expressing his concerns “and will continue to advocate for the taxi industry.”

Horgan earlier this year set this fall as the target for ride-hailing to be in service in B.C.

Surrey’s mayor said his statement came “in the wake of the Passenger Transportation Board announcement of further ride-hailing regulations in B.C. last week,” and his position “has remained consistent for years: I do not support ride-hailing.”

READ ALSO: Uber to apply for ride-hailing licence in B.C., will operate in Lower Mainland

McCallum said new regulations would permit ride-hailing companies to pick up passengers across boundaries while taxi companies “must abide by limits.

homelessphoto

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum

“This would create an unlevel playing field,” he said. “I am also not in favour of allowing unlimited fleet size for ride-hailing companies. This lack of regulation will negatively impact the environment and increase congestion. It will also negatively impact the existing taxi industry, who has loyally served Metro Vancouver’s residents for decades.”

Provincial Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena told the Now-Leader in January that McCallum’s opposition to ride-hailing in something he’ll “have to work through.

“What happens in various jurisdictions,” she said, “I think is something the mayor is going to have to work through, but we’re looking at a provincial model.”

READ ALSO: Transportation minister says Surrey mayor will have to ‘work through’ his opposition to ride-hailing

Meantime, Surrey Councillor Linda Annis issued her own press release in response to McCallum’s criticisms, in which she asks who is speaking up for passengers.

“We are one of the last places on the planet to get Uber and Lyft,” she stated, “yet thousands of people in Surrey already have ride-hailing apps on their phones because they use them when they are outside of B.C. in other parts of Canada, the U.S.A., or around the world.

“At the same time,” Annis added, “I believe taxis should not be restricted to driving or picking up passengers in certain geographic areas. These sorts of antiquated restrictions defeat the whole purpose of providing an alternative to to using your car and have frustrated the riding public for years.

homelessphoto

Surrey Councillor Linda Annis

“Frankly,” she said, “the best thing governments can do in this industry is get out of the way, rather than regulating things well past the point of common sense. Just ask anyone who’s been stranded waiting for a taxi or who has been refused a cab late at night.”

Annis said common sense dictates B.C. “should have had ride hailing years ago, just like the rest of the world.

“Uber and Lyft have been successful around the world because they know what riders and customers want and they deliver. But, here at home we seem to put the customer last when they should really come first and they should be the ones driving this industry and how it grows and performs.”

Annis said she will use ride hailing and thinks forcing Uber and Lyft drivers to have a class four licence “just adds one more unnecessary hurdle.”

The B.C. Liberals echo this, warning that “there may be fewer drivers thanks to unnecessary licence requirements,” namely class 4 drivers licences.

“John Horgan and the NDP flip-flopped on their promise and have betrayed British Columbians by crafting a convoluted framework that picks winners and losers in the marketplace, leaving us with reduced service in Metro Vancouver and no service anywhere else,” said Jordan Sturdy, the Liberals’ transportation critic. “This is not what people were promised or expecting. The BC Liberals offered a plan that ensured a level playing field for ride-hailing and the taxi industry and would have meant both could thrive, with customers getting better service and more options. Instead, British Columbians are stuck with a plan that will lead to less of both.”

The provincial passenger transportation board expects it will take six to eight weeks to evaluate the applications. Uber’s application is for the region covering Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Squamish and Lillooet.

Michael van Hemmen, in charge of Uber for western Canada, said Uber is “very excited” at the prospect of providing ridesharing here. “For years, British Columbians have been clear that they want access to the same safe, affordable, reliable service they’ve used all over the world,” he said. “We’re optimistic that Uber will be here for the busy holiday season.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Reincarnation, baby! Surrey singer and husband celebrate ‘miracle’ pregnancy

‘I (said) to Adam, ‘I really think this is your brother reincarnated,’ Elise Estrada says

White Rock shoots down mandatory mask motion

Coun. Scott Kristjanson asked city to prepare report on mandatory masks on public spaces

B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks

Dr. Bonnie Henry will soon be releasing guidelines on how to safely trick-or-treat this Halloween

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

Racist, homophobic graffiti prominent in downtown Maple Ridge

City councillors up late removing hateful message

Most Read