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Surrey mayor 'not worried' as Uber takes legal action against city

Last Updated Jan 29, 2020 at 5:17 am PDT

Summary

The mayor of Surrey says he isn't worried, as Uber makes good on its threat of taking legal action against the city

It comes after Doug McCallum doubled down on threats to fine ride-hailing drivers $500 for operating in the city

Uber has filed an injunction with the B.C. Supreme Court to stop Surrey from issuing tickets against drivers

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Mayor Doug McCallum is not worried, even though Uber is making good on threats to take legal action against the City of Surrey.  

The ride-hailing company has filed an Injunction application in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to “stop the City of Surrey from issuing illegal tickets”. 

Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s Head of Western Canada says the city’s crackdown on drivers operating in Surrey is ultimately hurting residents. 

“The city’s actions are unfair to local residents who want to earn money and support their families,” Hemmen states in a release. “It is also unfair to those who need a safe, affordable and reliable ride.”

But McCallum says when it comes to the legal challenge, he’s not concerned.

“We get lawsuits all the time. We haven’t done our curbs right, or even in business cases, they don’t have licences. We put stop-work orders on developments that don’t have the proper permits. So we face that,” he says.

He adds while the province has given Uber the green light, drivers still need a licence to operate.

“We feel that ride-hailing or especially Uber, is not abiding by our bylaws. It does not have a business licence at this time to operate in Surrey,” he says. “We expect that all businesses commercial ride-hailing companies will respect our bylaws and will get a business licence.”

Uber also cites Premier John Horgan and the minister of transportation, who have stated municipalities do not have the authority to stop ride-hailing companies from operating.

There is no mention of pulling back drivers in Surrey, with the service stating “Uber will remain available in Surrey.”

That’s despite threats from McCallum, who has said any driver caught picking up a customer in his city will face fines of up to $500.

Uber reiterates there is a desire to work with municipalities, but adds “Uber must stand up when drivers and riders are being bullied and intimidated, especially when the province has confirmed drivers have the legal right to use Uber’s app and to earn money driving with the app.”

The injunction is based on two key points, that the city does not have the power to stop companies like Uber from operating and that McCallum has publicly stated the city will not be issuing a business licence to any ride-hailing company.