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Another win for ride-hailing: B.C. Supreme Court grants Uber injunction against Surrey

Last Updated Feb 7, 2020 at 7:55 pm PDT

Summary

B.C. Supreme Court grants Uber injunction against City of Surrey, stopping bylaw officers from ticketing drivers

Bylaw officers had been doling out the penalties because drivers don't have business licences to operate in Surrey

The mayor of Surrey says it's 'time to move on'

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A day after a legal victory against the Vancouver Taxi Association, Uber has scored another win.

The B.C. Supreme Court has granted the ride-hailing giant an injunction which will stop the City of Surrey from ticketing drivers.

Bylaw officers had been doling out the penalties to drivers who have been operating without a business licence in the city since Uber and Lyft were given the green light by the Passenger Transportation Board last month. Several Uber drivers were fined $500 for picking up passengers in Surrey.

Justice Veronica Jackson agreed with Uber’s lawyers, who suggested what the city was doing was completely disingenuous because it hasn’t even made business licences available to ride-hailing operators.

Uber’s Michael Van Hemmen, head of western operations, is celebrating the win.

“And today is a good day for drivers and riders across Metro Vancouver and especially in Surrey as the court decided in Uber’s favour,” he says. “We’ve seen positive movement from Surrey, and we’re pleased to see that the mayor has signalled that the City of Surrey will be looking to participate with the inter-municipal business licence that the region is working on.”

Van Hemmen notes Surrey will be an important municipality to work with based on the large population and because many Uber drivers live in the city.


Time to move on

In response, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s statement is brief.

“Time to move on,” he says in a release. “We will work with TransLink on the Mayors’ Council’s motion on a Regional Business Licence to ensure a level playing field between ride-hailing and taxis.”

The City of Surrey says it will respect the court ruling.

Meanwhile, Coun. Lina Annis says she is pleased to see the court ruling, which puts a stop to the mayor’s roadblocks on ride-hailing.

“I thought that it was not the right thing to be doing right from the get-go. Clearly, the people of Surrey have been asking for ride-hailing for a long time, and I’m just so thrilled to see that it is actually coming to fruition,” she says. “Right now, as I understand it, the City of Surrey has no choice. It was directed by the province that ride-hailing is coming to the Lower Mainland. We just need to get on with it and get on with it now.”

On Thursday, the Vancouver Taxi Association’s bid for an injunction was tossed out by the same judge. She said the group’s argument that Uber and Lyft have an unfair advantage over taxis just didn’t wash.

More ride-hailing competition

The Passenger and Transportation Board has granted access to more ride-hailing companies in the Lower Mainland and Whistler.

Kabu rides is also the only company able to operate in the Victoria area, the Okanagan, and other parts of the province.

“But once the legislation took effect on September 16th and after submitting our application for a ride-hailing licence, we knew what the right thing was to do and that was to unplug our app,” says Martin van den Hemel, spokesperson for Kabu.


Apt Rides has been approved for the Lower Mainland and Whistler, while three other operators were rejected this week.

The PTB has 20 other applications filed since September to either approve or deny.

With files from Hana Mae Nassar, Paul James, and Marcella Bernardo