$7,500 in fines in single day for illegal ride hailing services in Richmond

Illegal ride hailing rampant

In a one-day crackdown in late August, RCMP and bylaw staff handed out $7,500 in fines to illegal ride-hailing drivers in Richmond.

Fines included operating without a permit or license, operating a business without a licence, having the wrong driver’s licence, failure to drive with due care and failure to stop for a police officer, according to Richmond RCMP.

In a presentation to Richmond council’s public works committee, Martin van den Hemel, director of communications for the Richmond-based ride-hailing KABU, raised concerns about international students using illegal ride-hailing services.

He has raised the same concerns with the Richmond School District, which currently has more than 600 international students studying in its schools.

He estimates about 700 to 1,000 ride-hailing rides are being taken by international students in Richmond every day - these could be high school, elementary school or college students.

Raccoon Go is one service that advertises they offer ride-hailing in the Lower Mainland, but they don’t have a licence from the Passenger Transportation Branch.

They are also recruiting drivers on their website and claim to be “Vancouver’s largest, cheapest and most convenient Chinese ‘Uber.’”

They say on their website they operate in Vancouver, Victoria and Los Angeles.

As the Ministry of Transportation points out, illegally operating ride-hailing companies can face penalties of up to $100,000.

Furthermore, the ministry said in an email drivers are “assuming all of the risk related to providing the ride hailing service” and can also be fined up to $5,000.

Ride-hailing businesses have to submit documentation to the PTB in order to keep their license. This includes a vulnerable sector criminal record check, a driver’s abstract, and they have to have their vehicles inspected every 40,000 kilometres. They also have to have additional insurance.

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