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Scarborough Councillor Jim Karygiannis calls for changes to proposed Uber-X bylaw

Councillor says changes would level the playing field in Toronto

Longtime anti-Uber critic Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor Jim Karygiannis is going into today’s Licensing and Standards Committee armed with amendments that would make sweeping changes to a proposed bylaw that would legalize Uber-X on Toronto streets.

“I want a level playing field,” Karygiannis said in an interview Wednesday, April 13 on the eve of what promises to be a marathon committee meeting. He noted Mayor John Tory, who supports the new bylaw, had seconded a motion of his to that effect, and he said the amendments would create that playing field.

Karygiannis will be asking that Uber vehicles and taxis all be required to have snow tires between Dec. 1 and March 15. Uber drivers must confirm their personal insurance companies know that they’re going to be offering transportation commercially, and must directly provide proof of commercial insurance for collision and passenger hazards.

The amendments would also stiffen requirements for vehicle inspection, requiring Uber cars to pass annual inspections and be able to produce their safety standards certificates at any time.

Karygiannis also will be moving that Uber-X drivers and others within the category be able to demonstrate a command of English.

The amendment would also require a more robust camera system be installed in the vehicles and require police checks be administered by the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards staff rather than Uber.

It would also be more costly to drive an Uber-X vehicle, with an application fee of $500 and an annual fee of $300.