(Flickr)

Transportation

‘Ridiculous idea’: Surrey councillor slams mayor’s vow to deny ride-hailing licenses

Annis says McCallum should be working for residents, not ‘handful of taxi owners’

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is facing criticism after he told a crowd of taxi drivers he plans to deny business licenses to ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, particularly since the province has said municipalities won’t have the power to block operators.

“The cities actually have one tool in their back pocket and I’m going to use it in Surrey, and that is that every ride-sharing company needs to have a business license to operate in the City of Surrey,” McCallum said to a meeting of taxi drivers in Vancouver on Tuesday, to much applause.

“We will not be issuing any business licenses to ride-sharing companies in Surrey,” he added.

But lone Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says that’s a “ridiculous idea.”

“The fact that we don’t have enough transit or cabs to start with makes the Mayor’s idea just another poke in the eye to the thousands of Surrey residents who would use Uber and Lyft,” Annis stated in a release issued Tuesday night, adding that the mayor should be “working for Surrey residents, not (a) handful of taxi owners.”

According to Annis, Surrey needs Uber and Lyft as part of its overall transportation plan.

“We also need more cabs that aren’t burdened by cross-border restrictions between Lower Mainland communities,” she said in her release.

READ MORE: B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

SEE ALSO: Surrey mayor slams ride-hailing, again

“Surrey is the size of Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby combined, we’re a big place with major transportation and transit needs and that includes ride hailing as part of the solution. The public is getting fed up at being forgotten in this whole discussion. Riders and consumers should come first.”

Annis is calling on the provincial government “to step in and tell the Mayor that ride hailing is, in fact, coming to the Lower Mainland, including Surrey, this fall, period.”

“Competition in this sector is definitely healthy because it will benefit riders and consumers,” she said in her release. “Frankly, I think it’s the consumer’s turn to take the lead and that means getting Uber and Lyft in Surrey right away. Like thousands of Surrey residents I’m looking forward to ride hailing and plan to use it when it’s here.”

SEE ALSO: Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘level playing field’ for taxi industry, ride hailing

Anita Huberman, Surrey Board of Trade CEO, also slammed the mayor’s comments, saying her group has been “huge advocates of needing ride-hailing not only in Surrey but also in British Columbia.”

“In Surrey we need alternative transportation options. SkyTrain’s not going to be here for a while. How are people going to get around? To say no to ride-hailing will impact economic development,” she told the Now-Leader Wednesday. “With a third of the popualtion is under the age of 19, young people are looking for ways to get around the city which is large geographically.”

Huberman noted the board of trade is “trying to make Surrey a music city destination.”

“So when people are enjoying live music at night, they have a safe way to get home. You can’t always rely on a designated driver to get you home or even a taxi,” she sad. “We need transportation alternatives. It’s going to be 2020 soon, let’s get ride-hailing.”

This past January, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said McCallum’s opposition to ride hailing is something he’ll “have to work through.”

“We’re looking at provincial regulations and how we can make sure that at-base ride hailing is going to work in B.C. and that’s our priority,” Trevena told the Now-Leader at the time. “What happens in various jurisdictions I think is something the mayor is going to have to work through, but we’re looking at a provincial model.”

READ ALSO: B.C. ride hailing licence fees set, applications accepted in September

The Passenger Transportation Board has the sole authority over PVDS (Passenger Directed Vehicles), including taxis, limousines, shuttles and ride-hailing operators.

The province says municipalities may prohibit such drivers from operating in their municipalities, and that bylaws banning operators will “have no effect once the ride-hailing framework comes into effect on September 16, 2019.”

McCallum has been vocal in his opposition to ride-hailing operators for months. In late August, he issued a statement emphasizing that.

“These new regulations would allow ride-hailing companies the ability to pick up across boundaries, while the taxi industry must abide by limits,” the statement read. “This would create an unlevel playing field. I am also not in favour of allowing unlimited fleet size for ride-hailing companies. This lack of regulation will negatively impact the environment and increase congestion. It will also negatively impact the existing taxi industry, who has loyally served Metro Vancouver’s residents for decades.”

The Now-Leader has requested comment from McCallum.

-With files from Tom Zytaruk.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

Ministry says information security protocols have ‘evolved’ since construction on project wrapped up

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Most Read