After the recent arrest of a Toronto-based Uber driver on sexual assault charges, a taxi industry spokesperson says the ride-sharing company should be pushed to make in-vehicle video cameras mandatory.
Kristine Hubbard of Beck Taxi says such a measure would protect vulnerable passengers and women. She criticized Toronto for not mandating UberX drivers to be equipped with in-car CCTV. The city has been licensing Uber for over a year, but such surveillance is not part of current regulations.
Hubbard also says it is wrong that Toronto leaves it to Uber to conduct its own criminal background checks, which should instead be performed by the city.
“I think people tend to report to Uber rather than to report to the police … It’s becoming really concerning for the desensitization effect. It’s just another day, another incident,” she said.
“I think there has been a false sense of safety that has been created in our city because the City of Toronto says they’ve regulated them, so people assume it’s safe.”
Three Uber drivers have been accused of sexual assault in the last six months. On Wednesday, a 41-year old man was arrested by Toronto Police after a 15-year old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her in his Uber vehicles. Fahmy Saggaf is alleged to have driven the girl to a private location before she managed to escape.
“We normally advise people to be aware of their surroundings, if there’s any cause for concern to act immediately and call police,” said police spokesman Mark Pugash. “I’m not going to get drawn into things (like cameras) that are really the subject of licensing’s area of responsibility.”
“In this case, we have worked with TPS to provide information and have permanently removed this driver’s access,” said an Uber spokesman. “This is a horrifying report.”