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Surrey politicians are engaging in a war of words over the province’s move to allow ride-hailing.
On Aug.19, the province announced there would be no limits on fleet size for ride-hailing companies, which serve as a less expensive alternative to taxi service. A cap on fleet size could be imposed later, if it becomes problematic.
Adding to the conflict is the fact that ride-hailing companies will have larger operating areas, unlike taxi firms, which have to operate within the cities they serve.
Mayor Doug McCallum came out swinging this week, saying that he does not support the province’s move.
“My position has remained consistent for years: I do not support ride-hailing,” McCallum said in a release Tuesday. “These new regulations would allow ride-hailing
companies the ability to pick up across boundaries, while the taxi industry must abide by limits. This would create an unlevel playing field.”
Surrey Coun. Linda Annis responded Wednesday, saying the mayor needs to stand up for the users of ride-hailing.
“We are one of the last places on the planet to get Uber and Lyft, yet thousands of people in Surrey already have ride hailing apps on their phones because they use them when they are outside of B.C. in other parts of Canada, the U.S.A. , or around the world,” Annis said in a release.
That said, she agrees that taxi companies should not be restricted to the cities in which they are initially licensed.
“These sorts of antiquated restrictions defeat the whole purpose of providing an alternative to using your car and have frustrated the riding public for years,” Annis said. “Frankly, the best thing governments can do in this industry is get out of the way, rather than regulating things well past the point of common sense.”
The province has not officially responded to the complaints levelled by Surrey.