B.C.’s taxi operators say they’re ready to go to court to stop the rubber from hitting the road on ride-sharing.
That’s according to Carolyn Bauer of the Vancouver Taxi Association who says the province consulted with the industry, and then failed to act on any of its input.
“We’re going to be meeting our lawyers for sure,” Bauer says. “Clearly to me at this particular point this is not a government that’s in touch with the interests of the taxi industry people.”
Bauer says taxi operators were shocked when they saw the province’s roll out plan for ride sharing.
“We’ve always said that we would support the competition as long as it came in on a level playing field,” she says.
But she says that’s not what they got.
The industry’s number one beef? No cap on the number of ride-share drivers in the market, which she says will push fares down so low drivers won’t be able to make a living.
“We’ve watched it in many cities around the world where there is 1000 Uber drivers and then there is 10,000,” Bauer says.
She says another change the industry is upset about is the elimination of municipal boundaries for pickup and drop-off.
We all know that the only popular point of pickup is Vancouver, so therefore [other] municipalities are still going to be facing huge problems in receiving taxi service.”
As for opening the field up to more licenses, she says the industry agrees there aren’t enough cars on the road, and has been begging the province to do that for years, only to be regularly rejected by the Passenger Transportation Board.
“For five years we’ve been putting in applications to get more taxis. We’re not getting any answer from government.”
But what about that million dollars the province is offering up to create a new taxi app, and the $3.5-million for crash avoidance technology?
Bauer says taxi companies have already created an app, called eCab that summons the nearest taxi from any of the city’s four cab companies, plus one in Burnaby.
And she says they flat out told the province not to move ahead with the crash avoidance technology.
She says it’s incompatible with new-model Toyotas – which come with their own anti-crash software anyway.
“Why do we need this crash avoidance technology? We told them. We have an age restriction on our vehicles.”
In making its announcement on ride-sharing Tuesday, the province said it would “seek additional input from taxi drivers,” over the summer.
One thing is certain: there will be plenty of it.