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Uber 'respectfully declines' Surrey's request to stop ride hailing in the city

Last Updated Jan 25, 2020 at 10:06 am PDT

FILE - The Uber App is pictured on a smartphone in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, December 30, 2019. British Columbia's Passenger Transportation Board has granted long-awaited licensing approvals to ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft for service in the Lower Mainland and Whistler. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Uber isn't backing down, despite threats from Surrey's bylaw office to prevent operations in the city

Some councillors speculate the directive came straight from Mayor Doug MacCallum

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Uber says they are not backing down, despite threats from Surrey’s bylaw office to stop ride hailing operations in the city.

In a statement released to NEWS1130, Uber says, “The Passenger Transportation Board and the provincial government have given Uber all necessary licences authorizing Uber to continue operating across Metro Vancouver and in the City of Surrey.”

It adds, “We look forward to working with all Councils on a path forward for the regional licencing of this new industry.”

Some councillors speculate the directive came straight from Mayor Doug MacCallum, who has been a vocal opponent of ride-hailing.

In a statement Friday morning, McCallum said provincial approval of Uber and Lyft hasn’t changed his stance.

“What continues to be my chief concern is the unfair advantage that has been created without any regard as to how it will impact those who are employed in the taxi industry,” he explains.

“It is no secret that a large percentage of cab drivers live in Surrey and the modest wages they earn go to support their families.”

McCallum argues the taxi industry already meets all the needs of passengers.

RELATED ARTICLE: Letter demanding Uber stay out of Surrey unexpected, unrealistic, undemocratic: councillor

Following the approval of Lyft and Uber services, Premier John Horgan said the approval from the province means Uber and Lyft can’t be kept out of Surrey.

“Our legislation makes it pretty clear that they can’t,” Horgan says.

“I respect Mr. McCallum’s view on this, but we can’t restrict activities in Surrey as opposed to Coquitlam, or Richmond. These companies will be able to operate in the Lower Mainland, they will be permitted by the Passenger Transportation Board and our legislation provides for that.”

In November 2018, the provincial government passed a ridesharing legislation in which it particularly prevented municipal governments from prohibiting ridesharing vehicles.