B.C. Taxi Association President Mohan Kang wants Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver City Council to amend the City’s bylaw to address the “perennial issue of shortages in peak period taxi service in the Downtown Vancouver Entertainment District on the weekends.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Kang said: “On August 20, 2014, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia dismissed a challenge by the four Vancouver taxi companies on the granting of 38 additional part-time licences for seven suburban taxi companies to operate in the Downtown Vancouver Entertainment District, to alleviate the current shortage of taxis.
“The granting of these 38 additional licences has a long history. In October 2012, the Passenger Transportation Board recognized the shortage of taxis in certain areas of Downtown Vancouver on Friday and Saturday nights.
“As of October 2, 2012, the Passenger Transportation Board approved 137 additional part-time taxis. The City of Vancouver had been proactively lobbying for these additional taxis.
“The four Vancouver taxi companies had objected to the granting of the 38 licences to the suburban taxis. The four Vancouver taxi companies attempted to have the Passenger Transportation Board reconsider its decision. The Vancouver taxi companies brought a Judicial Review application in BC Supreme Court to quash the Board’s decision to issue the licences to the suburban taxi companies. That application was dismissed. The Vancouver taxi companies then appealed to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and that appeal was dismissed.
“In other words, the decision of the Passenger Transportation Board on issuing 38 licences to the suburban taxi companies remains in full force and effect however the Vancouver taxi companies and the City of Vancouver are continuing actions to prevent implementation of the licences.
The Vancouver taxi companies have sought injunctions from the Supreme Court of BC to prevent these licences from being operated.
“With taxi licencing in Vancouver, a person must have both a licence issued by the Passenger Transportation Board and a licence issued by the City of Vancouver.
“Pursuant to a City of Vancouver bylaw, the total number of taxi licences is capped at 588 taxis. Unless and until the City of Vancouver amends that section, the public need determined by the Board and the issue of the additional 137 taxi licences will be of no purpose for the taxi travelling public.
“In spite of the City of Vancouver being instrumental in demanding further taxi service, and despite repeated requests from the suburban taxi companies, the City of Vancouver has not taken action to implement the required bylaw change. The City of Vancouver has had a staff report in hand since Summer 2013, however City of Vancouver Council has elected not to place the additional taxi issues on council agenda for consideration.
“If the travelling taxi public wants additional taxi service in the Downtown Vancouver Entertainment District, the Mayor and Council Members should be explaining why they are refusing to act to get these taxis into service, which will address the issues of public safety, public convenience and refusals of trips to the suburbs.”
THE seven suburban companies that have permission to operate 38 permanent part-time taxis on Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from the Passenger Transportation Board, Victoria, are: Delta Sunshine Taxi (1972) Ltd., Kimber Cabs Ltd., Guilford Cabs (1993) Ltd., Newton Whalley Hi Way Taxi Ltd., Tsawwassen Taxi Ltd., Sunshine Cabs Ltd., and North Shore Taxi (1966) Ltd.