British Columbia

Metro Vancouver taxi companies seek injunction to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Ride-hailing companies could be ordered off the road as early as Feb. 4 if a judge grants an injunction.

Ride-hailing companies could be ordered off road as early as Feb. 4 if judge grants injunction

A group of nine Metro Vancouver taxi companies filed two legal challenges Monday against Uber and Lyft. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A group of Metro Vancouver taxi companies is heading to B.C. Supreme Court to try to stop Uber and Lyft from operating.

The nine taxi companies filed two legal challenges Monday.

One is an injunction application seeking to immediately stop Uber and Lyft's from conducting business, while the second challenge, a petition to quash their licences, is heard.

The province's Passenger Transportation Board, an independent tribunal, granted the licences last week.

"If the impugned decisions are not stayed," the injuction application read, "those decisions will have a devastating and irreparable impact on the taxi industry and the livelihoods of taxi drivers in Metro Vancouver."

Carolyn Bauer, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association, said the injunction application will be heard Feb. 4.

The lawsuit comes nearly six months after the same group asked the B.C. Supreme Court to quash the Passenger Transportation Board's rules on ride-hailing.

The cab companies argued the rules favoured companies like Lyft and Uber at the expense of the taxi industry, including no initial limits on fleet size and large operating areas for ride-hailing companies.

Uber launched last Friday in parts of Metro Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Cabs are capped at 2,500 licences and the taxi industry wants that same limit applied to ride-hailing vehicles in Metro Vancouver.

Bauer said they dropped that court action in September because the board indicated it had yet to finalize its rules.

But when the board approved Uber and Lyft's licence applications last week, it kept the same rules on fleet size and pricing.

"They completely lied to us," she said. "All we ever asked for is equality and fairness here."

The petition cited reports of reduced taxi business during Uber and Lyft's first week in the region, particularly at the Vancouver International Airport and hotel taxi stands.

A spokesperson for Uber declined to comment and said the company has not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

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