Identical regulations will allow taxis to compete with Uber

 

demo behrouz asafo2

Asafo Addai, right, and Behrouz Kamseh were two of the hunger strikers who slept outside City Hall for 3 nights in November in an attempt to call attention to the grossly unfair situation that has been created in Toronto's taxi industry.

 

February 26, 2016 (TORONTO) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) says their members will be more than capable of competing with Uber so long as regulations for taxi and Uber are identical.

“Several TTA members attended ‘stakeholder’ meetings held in February by MLS, ostensibly to provide input to the ground transportation report as it is being written,” says TTA spokesperson Asafo Addai, who will visit Toronto City Hall today to deliver the TTA’s submission before the February 29th deadline. The report is expected on April 14th.

“These meetings were designed to spend many hours in discussion over such topics as ‘Should the City set meter rates?’ and ‘Should we have roof lights and security camera?’” says Addai.

“Until we know that taxis and Uber vehicles will be treated identically the same, there is no point in musing these details. We have no frame of reference for discussing any of these items, whether they are related to safety – like vehicle inspections and driver training – or whether they are related to commerce, like meter rates and license fees.

“Should taxis have snow tires and security cameras, with meter rates set by the City? If Uber’s going to have exactly the same requirements, sure. If Uber gets a pass on all of these things, it’s a totally different story. These stakeholder meetings put the cart before the horse by focusing on details without disclosing whether we’re talking about one system, or two.”

TTA members could not:

  • get a guarantee there would be no new and separate transportation category recommended in the report;
  • get any assurance that Uber and Taxi would be treated identically the same;
  • persuade staff to share their definition of the term ‘equitable’ treatment as used in the direction from Council on September 30.

 

Therefore, the Toronto Taxi Alliance’s submission to the ground transportation review can be covered by these three points:

  • Uber=Taxi

Uber, UberX and all of Uber’s entities must be regulated as taxi companies.

 

  • Regulations for Uber, UberX and Taxi services must be identical

There cannot be two sets of regulations in Toronto, one which applies to Uber and other so-called “ride sharing” companies and different set of regulations which apply to taxi companies.

There needs to be ONE set of regulations which applies to ground transportation companies carrying passengers for compensation. These entities must be governed identically by these regulations.

 

  • No open entry

Open entry means anyone with a car can provide ground transportation services, with no requirement for a license to operate and no cap on the number of vehicles providing transportation service.

Open entry has never been right for the City of Toronto and it will not work now.

In 2014, MLS indicated Toronto has the correct number of licensed vehicles on the road. With Uber, Toronto has 20,000 more. This is not working for Toronto.

-30-

 

Uber trial delayed yet again; over a year to face charges

harvey spiegel headshot

The Honourable Harvey Spiegel, Q.C.

February 24, 2016 (TORONTO) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is appalled that charges laid against Uber drivers in March of 2015 have been delayed yet again with no trial date in sight.

On January 22nd, Gerald Chan, the drivers’ lawyer informed the court that five of the drivers not yet received disclosure of the evidence. In court this morning,  the lawyer stated that while he had received preliminary disclosure he had not received the additional information he had requested. He provided no details of the information requested, nor did the prosecutor express his position on the legitimacy of the request. Instead the prosecutor consented to the defense request that these charges, laid in March 2015, be put over to April 6 together with a new batch of over 100 licencing by-law infractions charges recently laid against various foreign Uber companies.

“In my opinion, the way the prosecution is dealing with these charges raises vexing questions,” said Harvey Spiegel, Q.C. legal counsel for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.

  • Why did it take more than 10 months to provide disclosure in a relatively simple case?
  • Why did were the changes dropped against 3 drivers because of failure to make timely disclosure?
  • Why has the prosecution not expressed its position on the defence request for additional information?
  • If the request is legitimate why hasn’t it been complied with? If it is not, why have they not urged the court to set a trial date?
  • Why have they agreed to bundle charges laid under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) in March 2015 with recent charges laid against Uber for by-law infractions charges in which the issues are entirely different and which can only lead to further delays?

“When the Toronto Police Services were asked why they were not laying more charges under the HTA against unlicensed UberX drivers, they said they were awaiting the outcome of the pending charges.  Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense. Do you stop laying charges against impaired drivers because some persons are contesting similar charges?  asked Spiegel, a retired Superior Court Judge

“Moreover, the way that the pending charges are being handled, it is doubtful that that there will be ever be a disposition on the merits. Will the TPS then say there is no point in laying more charges because these were thrown out?”

“If they were seriously intent on prosecuting these charges they would have been tried months ago," says Spiegel.

-30-

Retired Justice asks: “Are Police, Prosecutor serious about Uber charges?”

Featured

 

February 23, 2016 (TORONTO) -- The fact that five of eight Uber drivers charged by Toronto Police last March have still not received disclosure of the evidence raises serious doubts about whether the Police and/or the Prosecutor’s office are seriously intent on prosecuting these charges, says Harvey Spiegel, Q.C. legal counsel for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.

On January 22nd, Gerald Chan, the drivers’ lawyer informed the court that five drivers had not yet received disclosure documents from Toronto prosecutors. The prosecution gave no reasonable explanation for the failure. The court agreed this was an inordinately long period of time to provide disclosure in a case like this.

“’Disclosure’ in this type of case is as simple as preparing a short synopsis of the police evidence, photocopying supporting documents, if any, and sending them to the defence lawyer,” Spiegel, a retired Superior Court Judge points out. “I cannot think of any legitimate reason why this was not done months ago.

“I understand that the charges against three of the drivers have already been dropped because of the prosecution’s failure to make timely disclosure. If the prosecution delays much longer, the remaining cases will likely meet a similar fate.

“When the Toronto Police Services were are asked why they were not laying more charges against UberX drivers they said they were awaiting the outcome of the pending charges.  Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense. Do you stop laying charges against impaired drivers because some persons are contesting similar charges?

“Moreover, at the rate that the pending charges are being prosecuted, it is doubtful that that there will be ever be a disposition on the merits. Will the TPS then say there is no point in laying more charges because these were thrown out?”

The case against the Uber drivers charged is scheduled to be back in court on February 24th at 9 a.m. at “N” Court (Old City Hall, 3rd floor). Court schedules may be impacted by an inside workers’ strike.

 

-30-

 

 

Toronto Taxi Alliance applauds industry decision not to strike on NBA weekend

February 10, 2016 (Toronto) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) commends the taxi industry protesters who have decided not to strike on February 12th, the beginning of the NBA All-Star weekend and feels they have made a wise decision.

The TTA sympathizes with the frustrations of taxi drivers, which are real and painful. John Tory and the City of Toronto have created this problem by refusing to deal with UberX in a timely manner.

The Toronto Taxi Alliance respects and supports the Rule of Law. We do not support any activities which are in conflict with the Rule of Law. We wish Mayor Tory and Chief Saunders felt the same.

We have not exhausted our legal options, and that is why the TTA is moving forward to request an injunction against Uber. Details of this injunction request will be announced shortly.

Toronto’s taxi industry itself is stepping up to do the job City Council has chosen not to do: as tax paying, law abiding citizens the industry is going to court to ensure the Rule of Law is upheld. We wish to send a positive message to Toronto’s youth and to the business community that it is NOT ok to unfairly conduct business in Toronto by breaking the law as a business model.

-30-

 

 

 

 

TTA disappointed by Council decision, will consider its legal options

TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is very disappointed in the vote at Toronto City Council today. The Licensing and Standards Committee's recommendation was made because MLS had refused to take effective enforcement action against Uber 's illegal activities. The Mayor's amended recommendation which was adopted today, merely delegates the authority seek an injunction back to the same body which has steadfastly refused to take such action.

This will allow Uber to continue to blatantly flout the law.

The TTA is shocked by Mayor John Tory's lack of respect for the rule of law and his failure to support Toronto's legal taxi industry.

The TTA will be meeting with its legal counsel to determine its legal options.

Toronto Taxi Alliance applauds Brampton mayor’s actions on bandit cabs

Brampton Cracks down on Uber

BRAMPTON, ON, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today applauded Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey for her principled stance against illegal, unlicensed and unregulated bandit cabs in that city.

"Congratulations and commendations to Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey for showing leadership in her municipality, and support for the legal taxi industry," says TTA spokesperson Sam Moini. "In Toronto, we have been waiting since October 1st for the City to take action against UberX, an unregulated service operating illegally and without insurance. Toronto has refused to fulfill its obligations to enforce the law. Mayor Jeffrey is showing how it can be done.

"Brampton is engaged in a very interesting and progressive debate, as it recognizes that illegal bandit cabs such as UberX take advantage of city infrastructure and services while contributing nothing to its tax base," Moini notes.

Illegal, unlicensed and unregulated ride sharing operators have popped up all over the country using municipal roads developed and maintained by local taxpayers.

"At a time when all municipalities are scrambling to access every dollar they can to protect programming, these companies use infrastructure paid for by taxpayers, without contributing one dime," Moini notes. "In the case of Uber, every fare collected is immediately transferred to the Netherlands for processing. None of it is reinvested in local communities where they operate."

In a letter sent to Peel Taxi Alliance vice president Joe Farrugia on January 22nd, Mayor Jeffrey stated, "Ride sharing companies that are operating without proper licensing in our community have not made any investment from which they derive their income. This is patently unfair to all Brampton taxpayers."

Jeffrey also raised concerns that these illegal bandit cab companies "do not carry adequate insurance, safety inspections or driver training. In addition, these drivers fail to acquire proper police background checks that are required of all Brampton taxi drivers."

SOURCE Toronto Taxi Alliance

For further information: Rita Smith at 647 242 5505 or ritasmith@rogers.com