VANCOUVER — A coalition of nine taxi companies has asked B.C.’s Supreme Court to quash policies it says were illegally created for ride-hailing companies but the province’s transportation minister says she doesn’t expect the legal challenge to halt the start of the services.
The Metro Vancouver cab companies say in their petition that the Passenger Transportation Board had no authority to set binding guidelines for ride-hailing services before hearing individual applications to determine whether they should be issued a licence.
The board announced policies last month allowing so-called transportation network services an unlimited number of vehicles in broader geographic areas compared with cabs, which the taxi industry says amounts to “destructive competition.”
Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said Thursday eight ride-sharing companies have filed licence applications with the Passenger Transportation Branch of her ministry. The applications are then forwarded to the board.
“The taxi industry has been talking about their concerns very publicly, about their worries about what was happening. The fact that they are challenging this I don’t think really comes as a surprise to many people,” Trevena said. “But (court action) does not impinge, as far as I’m concerned, on the movement towards ride hailing in British Columbia.”
She still expects the services to begin by the end of the year, she said.
Trevena sent a letter to the independent board earlier this week outlining her concerns about ride-hailing’s impact on the taxi industry as well as congestion from extra traffic in various communities.
She said she had no intention of influencing the independent board’s decisions.
“These were the concerns I’d heard from constituents, from stakeholders as well as from mayors, so I was relaying the information,” she said.
Board chairwoman Catharine Read said licensing decisions would be based solely on the applications, as well as submissions from the public and stakeholders after application summaries are posted on the board’s website starting Monday.
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