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Karygiannis questions impact of City report on new and emerging technologies in for-hire ground transportation industry

TORONTO – Jim Karygiannis, Councillor for Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, believes a City of Toronto staff report on the current for-hire ground transportation industry establishes two sets of rules – one for hard working taxi cab drivers and one for off shore billionaires.

“The people of Toronto believe in fairness for hard working individuals.” said Mr. Karygiannis. “The proposals in the City report will allow Uber to continue operating as it has, with no respect for laws, rules and regulations.”

The report by the Municipal Licensing and Standards Department follows its consultations with industry stakeholders during the summer. At the City Council meeting of July 2015, Councillors adopted a Motion, introduced by Councillor Karygiannis, to review the operations of Uber and technologies like it, including the interests of the public in the technologies and their impacts on the current taxicab industry.

“The spirit of my Motion was to legislate everyone under the same rules.  The taxi industry, whether it is brokerages, owners, operators, fleet operators and garages are all regulated and have a set of rules that we, the City, has imposed on them. Allowing Uber to regulate itself is like allowing the fox in the chicken coop.” Mr. Karygiannis commented.

The report allows Uber to continue operating for one year, on a pilot-basis, after which time the City would re-visit the situation.

Councillor Karygiannis says Uber has not demonstrated any willingness to adhere to rules, laws and regulations and says even if the City asks for compliance, it will find ways to go around the requests as it has demonstrated in the past. He questions what makes people think they will now or in the future.

“They have almost broken every bylaw we have in place to protect Torontonians:

  •  No vulnerable people background checks;
  • Cars are allowed to be up to ten years old and sometimes older; and,
  • Their mechanical checks of cars is mockery of regulations.

They have broken all kinds of Provincial regulations including:

  • No commercial insurance on their vehicles while operating as taxis.

They have broken Federal laws:

  • They have openly stated that they do not collect HST.” Mr. Karygiannis stated.

He is concerned about the serious impact the situation could have on the industry in allowing more private vehicles, which will be unmarked, to carry on as unlicensed taxis. “The frustration level could eventually lead to confrontations, something which I have worked hard with the industry to avoid.” said Mr. Karygiannis.

“This could result in over 15,000 people, who are legitimately working in the industry, to lose their livelihood and eventually be forced to find alternative work or go on social assistance.”

According to Mr. Karygiannis – This proposal is a race to Zero:

  • Zero protection for legitimate people involved in the Taxi industry;
  • Zero protection for the citizens of Toronto from cars that are not currently insured;
  • Zero co-operation from Uber on our laws, rules and regulations;
  • Zero collection of fees for municipal oversight;
  • Zero protection of Torontonians from police vulnerable people checks; and,
  • Zero collection of HST as Uber has admitted that it does not collect HST.

“This is the time to correct the situation to the citizens of Toronto.” Mr. Karygiannis stated. “It is time for Uber to be fully regulated as a Taxi Brokerage firm or leave Toronto.”

 

Talking Points:

I had advised Torontonians that there was no insurance for UberX and the article yesterday of the proposed regulations only re-affirms this.

Yesterday’s move from Uber to partner with Intact Financial also re-affirms that the citizens of Toronto who were using Uber were not protected.

Uber states that it has $5 million commercial auto insurance – however, as it was demonstrated lately by the law – case from their driver and the law firm of Diamond and Diamond – it is there only to protect Uber and not its drivers and or passengers.

This report proposes two set of rules – one for hard working Taxi Cab drivers and one for billionaire companies in California. Off shore billionaires.

Citizens of Toronto believe in fairness for hard working individuals. Why are we are rewarding off shore billionaires with another set of rules?

The proposed report will allow Uber to continue operating as they have. The spirit of my Motion was to legislate everyone in the same regime.

The taxi industry, whether it is brokerages, owners, operators, fleet operators and garages are all regulated and have a set of rules that we, the City, has imposed on them.

Allowing Uber to regulate itself is like allowing the fox in the chicken coop.

They have shown no respect for laws, rules and regulations and even if we ask for compliance, they will find ways to go around these requests as they have demonstrated to this point their unwillingness to co-operate with laws that are in place.

 

They have almost broken every bylaw we have in place to protect Torontonians:

  • Novulnerable people background checks;
  • Cars are allowed to be up to ten years old and sometimes older; and,
  • Their mechanical checks of cars is mockery of regulations.

They have broken all kinds of Provincial regulations including:

  • No commercial insurance on their vehicles while operating as taxis.

They have broken Federal laws:

  • They have openly stated that they do not collect HST.

The report allows them to continue operating as a pilot for one year and then we revisit the situation. Uber has not demonstrated any willingness to adhere to rules, laws and regulations. What makes people think that they will now or in the future?

The City will lose licensing fees of close to $10million if the taxi industry were to follow the Uberx example. We will have to hire more staff in order to administer checks on Uber. Where will this money come from?

This proposal is a race to Zero:

This could result in over 15,000 people, who are legitimately working in the industry, to lose their livelihood and eventually be forced to find alternative work or go on social assistance.

There will be chaos on the streets from allowing more private vehicles which will be unmarked to carry on as unlicensed taxis. The frustration level will eventually lead to confrontations and this is something which I have worked hard with the industry to avoid.

This proposal is a race to Zero:

  • Zero protection for legitimate people involved in the Taxi industry;
  • Zero protection for the citizens of Toronto from cars that are not currently insured;
  • Zero co-operation from Uber on our laws, rules and regulations;
  • Zero collection of fees for municipal oversight;
  • Zero protection of Torontonians from police vulnerable people checks; and,
  • Zero collection of HST as Uber has admitted that it does not collect HST.

Time to correct the situation; we must protect the citizens of Toronto. Time for Uber to be fully regulated as a Taxi Brokerage firm or leave Toronto.