RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., are again warning the public about the risk of using illegal ride-hailing apps after busting a number of drivers in the city on Friday.
Seven drivers were caught offering rides through illegal ride-hailing apps in one night, according to RCMP. Officers handed out 24 violation tickets totalling nearly $14,000 in fines.
Seven tickets were handed out for operating without a proper licence or permit under the Passenger Transportation Board Act. Six were for failing to have a proper commercial vehicle inspection and five were for having the wrong class of driver's licence.
Four more tickets were for operating without a business licence from the city.
Ride-hailing is only legal in Metro Vancouver if drivers abide by regulations and have the proper permits, including one from the province, in order to run their business. Providers and drivers need to have the right driver's licence, vehicle inspections, insurance coverage and record checks, among other requirements.
RCMP said passengers shouldn't trust drivers who haven't been properly approved.
"You need to be mindful that, whenever you do get into the back of any car [through an illegal app], you don't know who this person is ... if they're even able to drive in the province ... that is giving a lot of power and control to the driver that you're trusting," said Burnaby RCMP Const. Kevin Connolly. "Choosing an illegal app, you don't have those checks and balances that are meant to protect [passengers]."
"More often than not, these drivers will openly ignore direction from police, they will attempt to flee from police when they're being stopped ... that's an example of the type of people that members of the public are trusting with their safety and, to me, that's quite the dangerous situation," the officer continued. "If they're acting that way with police, I could only imagine how it could be with some innocent individual."
Connolly added that illegal ride-hailing apps won't have insurance coverage, so passengers won't be covered if they're injured in a crash.