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Ride-sharing service has filed an application in response to an injunction from the taxi industry against controversial UberX arm.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

After filing this past week to have a lawsuit against them thrown out of court, the ride-sharing service Uber says it is "really eager" to return to Vancouver.

"Our hope moving forward for Vancouver is that we will be able to return," Uber spokesperson Arielle Goren said Sunday in an interview.

"We know the demand is there."

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But Ms. Goren said there is no specific timeline for the company's return. Uber operated its black-car service in Vancouver for about six months in 2012, but the company withdrew from British Columbia after the provincial transportation regulator imposed a minimum fare of $75 a trip.

The Vancouver Taxi Association then applied for an injunction in November amid rumours that Uber was about to launch its controversial UberX service in the city.

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

Ms. Goren said she could not comment on ongoing litigation such as the actions by the taxi companies.

But a spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association, which filed the action against the company, said they are looking forward to their claims being heard soon in court.

"From my lawyer, I am understanding that we're not going to be waiting a year to do this," Carolyn Bauer said, referring to a hearing on concerns of the four Vancouver-area taxi companies – Yellow Cab, Blacktop, Vancouver Taxi and MacLure's.

"I can imagine it's just a matter of time before we get a date."

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Ms. Bauer said she would have no issue with Uber operating in Vancouver if it acted "on the same level playing field" as taxi companies with proper insurance, licensing and criminal-background record checks.

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

Uber's application, filed in response, 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. The application says the lawsuit is speculative, since it has not actually launched UberX in Vancouver.

Unlike Uber's traditional taxi service, which helps users hail licensed cabs, UberX allows anyone with a vehicle to apply to become a driver. That has prompted warnings from the local taxi industry, governments and regulators that UberX 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.

City officials in Toronto filed an application for a court injunction late last year, while drivers in Ottawa were fined after a sting operation that saw bylaw officers pose as passengers.

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Uber has also faced legal challenges or outright bans in France, Germany, China, South Korea, India and several U.S. cities and states.

With files from The Canadian Press

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