Burnaby can’t stop Uber

An UBER application is shown as cars drive by in Washington, DC. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
A smart phone displaying the Uber app as cars drive by in Washington, DC. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images from Flickr

The controversial ride-sharing service Uber may be coming to Burnaby whether the city likes it or not.

In 2015 council unanimously rejected Uber because it did not comply with the city’s taxi bylaws. Last week the ruling provincial Liberals announced they would permit alternative ride-sharing businesses like Lyft and Uber if re-elected in May, many which use mobile apps to offer taxi-like or carpooling services using private vehicles. The law would effectively overrule the ban in Burnaby and by other municipalities in Metro Vancouver.

At the mayor’s council on transportation Thursday, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said he welcomes ride-sharing services like Uber to Metro Vancouver.

“We need to embrace it. It improves mobility,” he told Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore in response to his question on whether TransLink supported the service.

In an interview after the meeting, Desmond said he could see car sharing, bike sharing and transit data being used together. He said if commuters had the ability to find the fastest route, combining transit data gathered from Compass cards with other transportation data, commuting would be easier.

“I think it improves our market,” Desmond said. “[Ride sharing] is the future.”

The city refused Uber in 2015 citing failure to comply with licensing bylaws,  and concerns about public safety, security, and the company’s complaint process, among other things.

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