Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Uber Seeks to Have Lawsuit Filed by Vancouver Taxi Companies Thrown Out

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Uber Seeks to Have Lawsuit Filed by Vancouver Taxi Companies Thrown Out

Article excerpt

Uber wants Vancouver taxi lawsuit thrown out

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VANCOUVER - Uber is asking a British Columbia court to throw out a lawsuit filed by four Vancouver-based taxi companies that are attempting to block the ride-sharing service from launching in the city.

The taxi companies applied for an injunction in November amid rumours that Uber was about to launch its controversial Uber X service, which allows riders to use a smartphone app to connect with private drivers.

The companies' lawsuit alleged Uber was planning to launch in violation of local bylaws and provincial taxi regulations, which they claimed would give Uber an unfair competitive advantage while putting passengers at risk.

In response, Uber filed its own application this week, asking the court to throw out the taxi industry's case.

Uber's application says taxi companies have no authority to enforce municipal or provincial regulations, and it dismisses the lawsuit as little more than an attempt by the taxi industry to protect its monopoly.

"For over 50 years, they (the taxi companies) have operated as a cartel seeking to stifle any form of competition or innovation in the commercial transportation industry," says Uber's application, which was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Uber's application says the lawsuit is speculative, since it has not actually launched Uber X in Vancouver. The company has not confirmed when, or even if, it plans to operate in the city, though it has been actively recruiting drivers and office staff.

Unlike Uber's traditional taxi service, which helps users hail licensed cabs, Uber X allows anyone with a vehicle to apply to become a driver. That has prompted warnings from the taxi industry, governments and regulators that Uber X would endanger passengers by putting them in the hands of unregulated drivers.

Uber has repeatedly argued it should not be forced to follow taxi regulations because it is a technology company, not a taxi service.

The taxi companies' lawsuit also argued passengers would be confused into thinking Uber X cars comply with taxi regulations. …

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