Taxi Companies Ask BC Supreme Court To Quash Ride-Hailing Services Rules Set By Passenger Transportation Board

VANCOUVER – Local taxi companies are in an uproar as BC is set to open business for the much awaited ride-hailing services in the province this month with a goal to have ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber operating by year’s end.

According to Postmedia News, a group of taxi companies asked the Supreme Court of B.C. on Wednesday to quash rules set by the Passenger Transportation Board to allow the introduction of ride-hailing services in B.C.

The move comes a day after Premier John Horgan sent a letter to the Vancouver Taxi Association promising support for taxi drivers after the introduction of ride-hailing, particularly around the unlimited fleet-size policy of the independent transportation board.

Horgan wrote that government was committed to “minimize negative effects on the taxi sector” from the introduction of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Meanwhile, taxi drivers are taking their own action, arguing in court that the whole regime the board has set up to govern ride-hailing should be tossed out, reported the Sun.

Vancouver lawyer Peter Gall — who represents Yellow Cabs, Black Top Cabs, Maclure’s Cabs, Vancouver Taxi, North Shore Taxi, Richmond Cabs, Bonny’s Taxi, Burnaby Select Taxi and Queen City Taxi — told Postmedia that he believes the board does not have the statutory power to create operating policies for ride-hailing before receiving applications, and if they did, they would have to consult with taxi companies affected. He said he is also challenging whether the board has the power to have two sets of rules for passenger transportation providers, reported Postmedia.

“They want the (operating) policies quashed and they want a fair hearing before the Passenger Transportation Board,” said Gall, referring to the taxi companies’ request to the court.

The board has 21 days to respond to the court case.

He said taxi companies accept that ride-hailing businesses like Uber and Lyft are coming, but they do not accept the rules that the board created, which they believe give ride-hailing an unfair advantage over traditional taxis. They are also challenging the board creating two sets of operating policies, one for ride-hailing and one for taxis.

The taxi companies have already sent a letter to Jan Broocke, interim director of the board, asking for the right to contest any ride-hailing applications. They want the board to take into account the affect of congestion caused by ride-hailing cars on the road, reported Postmedia.

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has written a letter to Catherine Read, chair of the board, stating her concerns about the board’s policy that there would be no limit on ride-hailing fleets and the resulting congestion.

“I trust that the impact of impact of increased congestion will be monitored closely by the board and will factor heavily into future decisions around fleet size limits,” Trevena wrote.

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