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Uber faces more delays in Vancouver

03/24/2015 09:43 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
Vancouverites who want to use Uber may have to wait a while longer yet, as the City of Vancouver is expected to pass a motion that would, in effect, stop the ride-sharing service from operating until the fall.

Last October, the city put a six-month moratorium on new taxi licenses to review the impact of changes including ride-sharing technologies like Uber's app. The city is expected to pass a motion on Tuesday that would extend the moratorium until the end of October 2015.

James Unger, who says he was one of the city's first Uber drivers when it operated in Vancouver briefly in 2012, says customer feedback was mainly positive, and local demand for Uber remains high.

Unger says he understands why Uber, which allows non-regulated drivers to pick up fares in their own personal vehicles, would raise concerns. 

But it is up to the B.C. government and the provincial transportation regulator to listen to what customers want, and to come up with new regulations that could incorporate Uber, he said.  

"If I was to be able to have carte blanche, I would work closely with these [taxi] companies, with Uber, and try to find a happy medium and develop new regulations that would allow Uber to be integrated into the industry and, at the same time, not walk on the toes of existing operators," Unger told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

Obstacles for Uber remain

Uber, which already operates in more than 200 cities worldwide, operated in Vancouver for about six months in 2012. The company withdrew from B.C. after the provincial transportation regulator imposed a minimum fare of $75 per trip.

At issue, for Vancouver taxi companies, is the concern that Uber is violating local bylaws and provincial regulations, and attempting to illegally undercut traditional cabs.

When Uber appeared to be entering the market last fall, the Vancouver Taxi Association responded with an injunction to stop it from launching, though it dropped the legal action on Monday. The city of Vancouver also responded by imposing the moratorium, while the provincial government said plainclothes enforcement officers would pose as customers to bust anyone providing a "taxi-like service" without a license.

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