Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says the city won’t be chasing after Uber or its drivers to pay the $500 fines the bylaws department hit them with earlier this month. Nor will it appeal B.C. Supreme Court’s Feb. 7 decision ordering the city not to issue fines to Uber or its drivers who were operating in the city without a business licence.
“On this basis, council also decided that the city will not enforce the collection of payment for tickets issued to Uber Canada or its drivers between January 25 to February 6, 2020,” McCallum said at Monday night’s council meeting.
Justice Veronica Jackson also ordered Surrey to pay the ride-hailing company’s court costs after she granted the injunction Uber sought against the city to stop issuing the tickets.
Council also at the Feb. 24 council meeting amended a string of bylaws that reduced fees for Surrey taxicabs to match what ride-hailing providers pay under the Inter-Municipal Business License (IMBL) for companies like Uber, which it also approved on Monday night.
Now, the fees for Surrey taxicabs is set at a company fee of $155 and a vehicle fee of $150 per vehicle, dropping from $161.75 and $441. Council also decided to permit cabs to travel in marked bus lanes, and allow cabs that are wheelchair-accessible to park in accessible parking lots while picking up or dropping off passengers that are parked in city-owned lots.
This, McCallum said, supports a level playing field between taxis and ride-hailing providers.
“We are doing what we can within the City’s jurisdiction to create equitable competition between taxis and ride-hailing companies,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, the Surrey Board of Trade launched a petition aimed at provincial Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, asking her to “Remove archaic boundaries and allow the 2,500 taxis in Metro Vancouver to pick up and drop-off anywhere in the Lower Mainland to serve the public better.”
The board of trade has set a March 16 deadline to sign the petition, which can be found on the Surrey Board of Trade’s website.
Board CEO Anita Huberman noted that currently “government red take forces taxis to drive back empty – deadhead – after dropping off passengers in neighbouring communities” and “deadheading leads to inefficient use of taxi fleets, increased congestion, GHG emissions, higher costs, longer wait times for passengers and lower-income for drivers.”