Taxi drivers getting help in face of Uber in Toronto

Published: November 5, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Taxi drivers and unions representing them have been the most vocally against the UberX service in the City of Toronto and Canada as a whole. When the city council voted to bring regulations to the Uber in Toronto, taxi drivers saw it as a direct attack against their industry. Toronto is now taking steps to alleviate taxi driver concerns in Ontario’s largest city, by making their services more consumer friendly.

Those regulations are unlikely to land in Toronto until sometime during the first quarter of next year, and Mayor John Tory has insisted that the government is committed to maintaining the taxi industry against the new competitor. Indeed, Tory has vocally slammed Uber for not refusing to stop operating in the interim period before regulations come into action.

The City of Toronto announced this week that the base fair to ride in a taxi will be reduced by $1, making taxi fares more affordable for consumers. The newly approved base rate is $3.25, but the city says that some meters not reflect the changes just yet, despite the new price coming in on November 1.

“Toronto should have a competitive taxicab industry that serves both the public and drivers well,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in the statement. “That’s why I supported Council’s decision to reduce the minimum fare paid by the public by $1. This will make moving around the city more affordable for the public, and it will help the traditional taxicab industry compete.”

When the vote to regulate the UberX service was launched, the city said it would make taxi’s a viable and first choice alternative to using the driver share app. One of the proposals offered by Tory was to put more taxis on the streets of the city to make them more available to the public. That initiative is already underway with 1000 drivers awaiting their licenses set to be giving them, boosting the amount of taxis in Toronto.

Councilor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) is fighting against the Uber regulations and has requested answers regarding the company’s continued operation in Ontario. “UberX continues to operate using privately-owned, unlicensed vehicles with inadequate insurance and untrained drivers,” Davis wrote. “Uber and UberX continue to flout the law and operate illegally in the City of Toronto.”

Davis is requesting answers to the following questions:

 

• When was Uber provided notice to comply with the bylaw?

 

• What response has the City received from Uber?

 

• What enforcement actions are being undertaken?

 

• How many charges have been laid against UberX drivers?

 

• How many charges have been prosecuted to date? Is the City using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms?

 

• What has been communicated to the general public and the industry about the bylaw and enforcement? And

 

• What is the City’s legal strategy for addressing continuing non-compliance?