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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