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Mayor Doug McCallum vows to prevent ride-hailing companies from operating in Surrey

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 10:38 pm PST


McCallum attended an emergency meeting of B.C. taxi drivers in Surrey, and promised not to allow ride sharing in Surrey

McCallum says he would require every ride-sharing company would need to have a business license to operate

The Mayor also promised to refuse issuing any business license to ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Surrey’s mayor says ride-hailing will not be coming to his city.

Mayor Doug McCallum has vowed to do everything he can to prevent ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft from operating in Surrey. He attended an emergency meeting of B.C. taxi drivers Tuesday afternoon, where he promised he wouldn’t allow ride hailing to come there.

“From my point of view, we are going to do everything possible in Surrey to stop ride-hailing from coming into Surrey,” McCallum says. “We need a fair playing field so at this stage I’m fully supporting the taxi industry. And I will actually get out and fight for their behalf.”

McCallum says he’s been against ride-sharing services for “many years”, adding he wants to ensure the taxi industry isn’t being left behind with the arrival of companies like Uber and Lyft.

“Every ride-sharing company needs to have a business license, at least in Surrey, and we fully intend not to issue any business licenses to the ride-sharing companies,” he says. “The taxi industry isn’t being treated fairly because they’re limited in the number of taxi cabs they can have. When ride-sharing companies come in, the government has opened up their arms and said they could have as many as they want. That’s not fair.”

Municipalities do not have the power to refuse business licenses for taxis or limit the number of drivers. The Passenger Transportation Safety Board has the power to determine ride-hailing rules.

McCallum said he has been against such companies for years. As every ride-sharing company would need to have a business license to operate in the City of Surrey, he said he would not be issuing any of the licences to ride-hailing companies.

The hundreds of cab drivers and operators in attendance stood up and gave McCallum a standing ovation following his comments.

However, not everyone is happy with the mayor’s stance.

The CEO of Surrey’s Board of Trade, Anita Huberman, says she knows Doug McCallum supports the status quo, but it’s not up to him.

“We need different transit and transportation options to get around a city with a large geographic area that has limited transportation options,” she says.

“There’s ride-sharing everywhere around the world. If we’re the only city in Metro Vancouver that doesn’t have ride-sharing, it simply does not make sense, especially when a third of our population is under the age of 19.”

Meantime, Uber says there is support for its service in Surrey.

“There is overwhelming public support for ridesharing services to complement existing transportation options in Metro Vancouver. A Mainstreet survey showed 78% of Surrey residents want ridesharing. Uber is very excited for our planned launch this fall, and being able to deliver safe, reliable and affordable rides in time for the holiday season,” Michael van Hemmen with Uber said in an email statement.