TTA, iTaxiworkers commend Toronto for filing injunction against Uber

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Members of both iTaxiworkers and the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) met on Friday, November 21st to discuss the City of Toronto’s requested injunction to prevent the Uber group of companies from acting as an unlicensed taxi service.

“Both the Toronto Taxi Alliance and iTaxiworkers support innovation and encourage new technologies which will improve service and the competitiveness of Toronto’s taxi industry,” says Gail Souter, President of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.

“Riders like taxi apps, which is why several Toronto taxi services including Beck, Diamond, Royal, Co-op and City have offered smart phone app hails for several years now. This is not new, or exclusive to Uber.”

At the November 21st meeting, members of the TTA and iTaxiworkers agreed that the City of Toronto has done the right thing in requesting an injunction against Uber.

“We commend Tracey Cook and Toronto’s Licensing and Standards office for taking this action. Our first concern is public safety,” says Sajid Mughal of iTaxiworkers. “Uber is telling riders that UberX cars are covered by commercial insurance, while insurance companies say this is absolutely not true.

“In a regulated Toronto taxi cab, the drivers are trained and licensed; their cars are inspected twice per year. Our drivers must observe the city-mandated tariff pricing at all times, while Uber is charging surge pricing at busy times.”

“Toronto’s taxi firms support innovation and competition; all we ask is a level playing field. Our members, who have been working and investing in good faith while following Toronto’s taxi regulations, want to see Uber working according to the same standards. This is safer for riders and only fair to drivers,” point out Souter.

In her November 18 injunction request, MLS Executive Director Tracey Cook states, “Under each of the UberX, UberXL, UberBlack, UberSUV, and UberTaxi service models, Uber is carrying on the business of a taxicab broker or limousine service company because it is accepting and processing requests for taxicab or limousine service from passengers, communicating the requests to drivers, and calculating and collecting fares for each rider. Uber has not, to date, applied for or received a taxi brokerage or limousine service company license that would potentially authorize it to carry on business in Toronto…

“UberX and UberXL charge fares that differ from the fares mandated by the City for taxicabs…from time to time, Uber also implements what it terms ‘surge pricing,’ ie, Uber increases the prices it charges for rides when it determines demand is higher…several Uber users have stated in the media that they were subject to surge pricing in Toronto on Hallowe’en night.”

The injunction request by Toronto’s Licensing and Standards department is set to be heard on May 19th, 2015.

The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of owners, drivers, brokerages, fleets, agents, and Ambassador permit holders in Toronto. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4000 of the 4800 taxis on the road, with over 600 Ambassador drivers.

iTaxiworkers has been created to improve the rights and working conditions of Ontario Taxi workers. iTaxiworkers brings together many Drivers and Associations with the aim to unite the many voices in the taxi industry in order to reform this industry so that the drivers can make a decent living and come home safely to their families at the end of a shift.

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For more information, contact:

Rita Smith

ritasmith@rogers.com

TTA on CP24 AutoShop – Uber

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Sam Moini, committee member of the TTA, appeared on CP24's "AutoShop" on November 23rd to discuss the industry's position on unregistered taxi company Uber.

Sam was an excellent spokesperson for the taxi industry; in fact, when the Uber spokesperson realized Sam had come to present the TTA position, he refused to appear on the show and left.

To see the interview, click here. Then click "Toronto Taxi Alliance weighs in on Uber" in the right hand sidebar.

Judge reserves decision in TTA court action

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The Toronto Taxi Alliance and the City of Toronto were in court for three days this week, November 17th, 18th and 19th.

A tremendous amount of information was presented to the judge. At the end of day November 19th, the judge announced he would reserve his decision in order to allow him time to consider the information.

This decision could come in a matter of days, or  might take weeks.

As soon as the judge's decision is announced, TTA will report the information here.

City of Toronto files application for injunction against Uber Canada Inc.

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 Link to affidavit

2014-11-17 Affidavit of T Cook SIGNED VERSION.pdf

Link to Notice of Application

2014-11-18 Uber - Issued Notice of Application.PDF

Press Release from the City of Toronto:

November 18, 2014

City of Toronto files application for injunction against Uber Canada Inc.

Today, the City of Toronto filed a notice of application seeking a court injunction against Uber Canada Inc., and related companies Uber B.V. and Raiser Operations B.V., that provide the services UberTaxi, UberBlack, UberSUV, UberX and UberXL. The injunction requests that all Uber operations in Toronto cease.

The taxicab and limousine industries are regulated by the City to ensure protection of residents and visitors, and to ensure the health and safety of passengers and drivers. Uber has been operating in Toronto since 2012 without a proper licence.

The City is concerned that Uber's operations pose a serious risk to the public, including those who are signing on as drivers, for the following reasons:

  • increased risk to passenger safety – no mechanical vehicle inspections, lack of driver training
  • inadequate insurance that fails to meet the requirements of the Municipal Code and may not provide essential coverage to drivers, passengers and others in the event of accidents
  • increased number of vehicles operating as taxicabs resulting in traffic congestion and a possible threat to the taxi industry, including the City's objective of increasing the number of on-demand accessible taxicabs available, mandated by the City of Toronto earlier this year
  • unregulated fares resulting in price surging/gouging, and
  • increased safety risk to the drivers due to lack of training and vehicle security equipment, normally governed by City bylaws.

The City of Toronto is asking that the court be expedient in hearing this application.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

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Media contact: Tammy Robbinson, Strategic Communications, 416-338-3761, trobbin@toronto.ca


BACKGROUNDER from the City of Toronto: 

November 18, 2014

A history of the City of Toronto and Uber

Uber has been operating in Toronto since 2012, initially by dispatching taxicab (UberTaxi) and limousine (UberBlack) drivers and vehicles that had been licensed by the City through the use of a smartphone "app".

Uber has not been operating in compliance with City of Toronto bylaws. City staff has had ongoing communication and meetings with Uber in an attempt to encourage the company to operate in compliance with the regulations, without success.

In September, 2014, Uber began operating a service -"UberX" that recruits drivers who do not hold City-issued taxicab or limousine drivers' licences, and who are operating unlicensed personal vehicles, to offer commercial private transportation services.

The City of Toronto is currently pursuing various legal means through the court system to address issues relating to Uber:

  1. Existing 36 bylaw charges related to not having the required licences
  2. Application for a court-ordered injunction that would require Uber to cease all operations in Toronto
  1. Existing 36 charges related to not having the required licences
  • There are 36 charges dating back to 2012 against Uber:
    • Accepting requests for taxis through UberTaxi without a brokerage licence
    • Accepting requests for limousines without a limousine service company licence
    • Quoting fares in contravention of the limousine bylaw through UberBlack
  • The City and Uber will be at court on December 3, 2014 to set a trial date.
  1. Application for court injunction requiring Uber to cease all operations in Toronto
  • On November 18, 2014, the City of Toronto filed a Notice of Application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, pursuant to Section 380 of the City of Toronto Act.
  • This application is seeking an injunction against Uber requesting that Uber cease all Toronto operations.

Taxicab and limousine industries are regulated by the City to ensure consumer protection of residents and visitors and to ensure the health and safety of passengers and drivers.

The City of Toronto encourages innovation in all regulated industries, but at the same time, must maintain public safety and community standards for all who live, work and visit Toronto.

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Media contact: Tammy Robbinson, Strategic Communications, 416-338-3761, trobbin@toronto.ca

 

Uber operating illegally, City officials say

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From the Toronto Star:

"City officials say a company offering a smartphone app to hail taxis and limousines in Toronto is operating illegally.

The city has charged Uber with 25 municipal licencing offences, including operation of an unlicensed taxi brokerage and unlicensed limo service, since they began operating in Toronto in late summer."

Read More:

 

 

TTA Battle On Your Behalf Enters Crucial Phase – Please Contribute Now!!!

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Nov. 6 2014

Dear Toronto taxi industry member,

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW, MORE THAN EVER!

The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is very pleased to write you today to let you know that our extensive pre-election political activities have achieved significant results. These volunteer activities, to help get selected incumbents/candidates elected, included attending fundraisers, canvassing, literature delivery, and phoning by dozens of active TTA members, and we thank all of these generous and hard-working people for giving their time.

While nothing is predictable in politics, we can report that several of the incumbent Councillors who care about our unfair situation under the new reform have been returned to office, and that a number of the new council candidates who support TTA’s position won their races.

WE HAVE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

This means that when Toronto’s new Council begins work in November for the 2015 term, the TTA may be successful in securing the support and the votes of enough Councillors to be able to save the Standard Plate. After winning our injunction at Ontario Court in June, and achieving success through our election activities, we are optimistic that we have the momentum required to be successful in the next phase of our work.

This phase includes our court hearing on November 17-19th, at which a judge will decide whether or not the City of Toronto’s actions in reforming the taxi industry were legal. We hope to win in court; but as our membership was told by several speakers at the August 19th public meeting: We have to realize the solution to this situation must be a political solution. Even if the judge rules Toronto broke its own procedural rules in bringing in these reforms, there is nothing to stop Council from re-introducing the motion, and doing it properly this time. Therefore, a legal solution is a temporary solution; the real solution must be through communications with Councillors, which will require an extensive government relations/communications campaign over the coming months.

UBER IS NEXT

On September 11, 2014 Uber launched a new version of its business called UberX.  UberX is trying to kill off all members of the taxi industry by facilitating non-licensed drivers in non-licensed cars to operate as taxis in Toronto.  Drivers, brokerages, plate owners, fleet operators and members of the riding public need to band together to stop this threat to the Toronto’s taxi industry. The TTA is planning a major defense of your right to earn a living.  NOW more than ever, we need every Standard Taxicab owner and ambassador cab owner in Toronto to make their contribution of $1000 per plate immediately.

 

WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION

NOW more than ever, we need every Standard Taxicab owner in Toronto to make their contribution of $1000 per plate immediately.

The TTA continues to fund both the expensive Legal and the Government Relations battles on behalf of the industry – on behalf of YOU. To those who have already paid, we thank you for your faith in us and your support. You have enabled TTA to mount this fight. To those who have not contributed, we are asking you now to forward your contribution of $1000 per plate to the TTA as we enter into this crucially important phase. We can’t stop now and everyone needs to be part of the solution!

HELP US HELP YOU

Please send your cheque today to the Toronto Taxi Alliance:

1 Credit Union Drive

Toronto, ON

M4A 2S6

Or visit our website at www.torontotaxialliance.com to pay online and check for news updates.