Two drivers of illegal ride-hailing services were caught by law enforcement officers Thursday afternoon close to the airport and given fines, with one car being towed.
But the app developers – who could receive fines of $100,000 per day – have been trickier to find.
These apps appear to be based off-shore, explained Perry Dennis, deputy registrar with the Passenger Transportation Branch (PTB) but the PTB hasn’t had success in locating them.
The Richmond RCMP, PTB and the City of Richmond bylaw department were all at Templeton Station close to YVR on Thursday afternoon, trying to catch illegal ride-hailing drivers.
One driver had the plates taken off his car as he was a repeat offender; the other drove off with about $2,200 in fines.
The second driver received tickets totalling just under $1,800 for operating without a proper licence, without the proper vehicle inspection and driving for a company not permitted under the PTB.
Furthermore, the City of Richmond bylaws department issued him a $450 ticket for operating without a business licence.
Illegal ride-hailing has been operating in Richmond, Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey, but they are most prolific in Richmond and Vancouver, Dennis pointed out.
The drivers are also asked their legal status in Canada, and, if they aren’t allowed to be working in Canada, this information is passed along to the Canada Border Services Agency.
The PTB has been doing illegal ride-hailing stings with other agencies over the past year.
It has been issuing ride-hailing permits since 2020, and the legal ones are listed on their website. However, illegal ride-hailing services like Raccoon Go and UDI continue to operate.
“I would like to say to these illegal ride-hail companies, that we will not tolerate illegal operators placing British Columbians and visitors in danger,” Dennis said.
He added, if these companies are interested in becoming legal services, they can apply to the PTB for a licence.