In a move that stands in stark contrast to the City of Surrey, White Rock council has directed Mayor Darryl Walker to reach out to ride-hailing service providers to make it clear that the city is “open for business.”
The direction came in a motion from Coun. Anthony Manning – which was unanimously passed by council – at its regular meeting Feb. 10.
“Our neighbours to the north are really struggling with ride-sharing. We have heard from our residents and they are in support of ride-sharing and I would like to send a message to Uber, Lyft and other providers that White Rock, at least, is open for business,” Manning said to council.
Coun. Scott Kristjanson said he was “delighted” Manning brought forward the motion.
“This is long overdue,” Kristjanson said.
The City of Surrey has gone the opposite direction when it comes to ride-hailing. Although the service is available in parts of the city now, it did not come without a challenge from Mayor Doug McCallum.
McCallum vowed to not allow the service, despite provincial approval.
Shortly after Uber began operating in Surrey, bylaw officers began issuing $500 tickets to Uber drivers, arguing that they were operating without a business licence – a licence which does not currently exist.
McCallum threw in the towel after a B.C. Supreme Court judge in Vancouver ordered Surrey to stop ticketing drivers on Feb. 7.
“Time to move on,” McCallum said earlier this month.
A map outlining service areas shows that Uber doesn’t operate south of Highway 10 in Surrey, and Lyft doesn’t operate south of 88 Avenue.
Both companies indicated to Peace Arch News that they do plan to extend coverage to South Surrey and White Rock, but they both require more drivers to do so.
“As more drivers come online, we will look at expanding the service area. Unfortunately, the provincial government’s Class 4 driver’s licence requirement means there are few drivers available than most other cities with ridesharing,” a statement from Uber reads.