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Toronto councillor wants Uber banned from city phones

Jim Karygiannis says city employees shouldn’t be using Uber while the city is involved in a court battle to ban the service.

City councillor Jim Karygiannis said he will likely introduce a motion at next month’s council meeting to have the popular car-hailing app Uber removed from city-owned Smartphones.

“I wouldn’t feel safe if my daughter or my wife were to get in (an) Uber cab with some of the stuff that has happened with the Uber drivers,” Karygiannis said. “There’s no insurance. There’s no public safety as far as police (background checks) are concerned.”

The motion asks the city’s Chief Administrative Officer to remove the app from 12,000 city-issued phones, though Karygiannis does not know how many of those phones have actually downloaded the app.

His action comes days after 13 UberX drivers were charged with operating a taxi without the proper licence or insurance in an undercover sting operation, leaving drivers who use the Smartphone app feeling besieged.

“It’s bad enough what police are doing,” said one UberX driver who asked not to be identified for fear of legal repercussions. “There’s a huge demand for (Uber); why be a hypocrite about it?”

“Police should put something out and say you can’t do it, if that’s the case. Uber says there’s no regulation. People are confused and no one understands the law,” he told two Star reporters on a recent ride. “I’m all for regulation — tell me what I need to do.”

A draft of Karygiannis’ motion provided to the Star also requests that the city’s mobile service providers “remove or block the application in an automated manner.”