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Uber driver fined $500 for 'fake' passenger pickup in Surrey

Last Updated Jan 30, 2020 at 1:17 pm PST

Summary

As the Uber driver was waiting for his passenger at a liquor store, he says four bylaw officers approached him

The driver was fined $500 for operating without a business licence

Uber is asking the courts for an injunction to stop Surrey from finding drivers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An Uber driver suggests he was lured into picking up a customer in Surrey only to find bylaw officers instead.

As the driver was waiting for his passenger at a liquor store, he says six bylaw officers approached his car at 74th Avenue and King George Boulevard.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Sucha, who only gave his first name, says. “They called me and they rated me, and they gave me five stars.”

He says he was still paid even though he was given a $500 ticket for operating without a business licence.

“There’s no place for me to pick up a licence,” he says. “I do have the map where I can pick up and drop off, and [Uber] told me, legally, I’m okay. I’m fine here.”

Uber told him not to pay the ticket.

Uber says it is going to court in order to stop Surrey from fining its drivers. The City of Surrey has yet to make business licences available for ride-hailing companies.

Despite calling the situation uncomfortable, Sucha says he will still continue to drive in Surrey and hopes the city sorts the problem out.

Demanding identification

It turns out bylaw officers aren’t typically supposed to demand ID when issuing a ticket. But lawyer Kyla Lee explains there’s an exception that’s allowing Uber drivers to be targeted.

“Any officer who has stopped the driver of a vehicle can demand the driver produce identification so that is how they are getting around it,” he says. “They wouldn’t otherwise have that power to require identification in a bylaw case.”

Some other cities have the same exceptions but Lee says this is an unprecedented use of those powers.

“It opens the doors for charter challenges for the information that was obtained,” Lee says. “For people to say this was an abuse of power, the bylaw goes too far.”

She says drivers could challenge it as a privacy violation, but believes the court would probably side with the city.