logo logo

Toronto council to ask police to help keep Uber in line

Taxi representatives happy council acknowledges ‘everybody has to obey the law’

Scarborough-Mirror July 9, 2015 David Nickle

Toronto City Council has voted to ask Toronto Police and the city’s licensing division to crack down on the ride-sharing business Uber.

Council voted on a motion by Scarborough Agincourt Councillor Jim Karygiannis without debate July 7. It would also call for a review by the executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards to review the operations of Uber, following the city’s defeat in its attempt to have an injunction placed against Uber’s operations in Toronto.

Uber, unlike Toronto taxis and limousine services, is effectively unregulated, and will remain so until Toronto council drafts up regulations. That puts it at a distinct advantage against Toronto’s 5,000 licensed cabs and their 12,000 drivers, who are strictly regulated even to the point of the fares they are allowed to charge.

Earlier in the week, members of the taxi industry and Uber met with Mayor John Tory to try and find a way forward, now that Uber is free to operate.

Members of the taxi industry had threatened to hold a strike during the Pan Am Games in protest, unless the city found a way to put a stop to Uber in Toronto. On Monday, Tory announced the city would move quickly to establish a new bylaw.

The motion at council was to provide more immediate relief—essentially asking law enforcement officials to bring what tools they have to bear on drivers who are often inadequately insured and use their own vehicles.

Cab drivers representatives were happy with the vote.

“Council has made it clear the direction they want to go in discouraging everybody from offering illegal services in Toronto,” said Sam Moini, a fleet garage owner and spokesperson for the Toronto Taxicab Alliance. “This will send a message to the taxi industry and taxi drivers…that everybody has to obey the law and council must acknowledge that.”

Karygiannis, a vocal supporter of Toronto’s licensed cab drivers, was likewise pleased with the support for his motion.

“This has to be enforced, we have to make sure everybody comes into line,”  he said. “We have to have a level playing field.”