logo logo

Committee scraps proposed Uber regulations By Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun

Committee scraps proposed Uber regulations
QMI_TS201600414CR006

Councillor Jim Karygiannis, chairman of the licensing and standards committee, during a debate about a report to regulate ridesharing service Uber. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Toronto Sun April 15, 2016 Shawn Jeffords

A proposal to regulate Uber has been gutted but will move on for a key debate at city council in May.

Members of the licensing and standards committee voted to approve the report that set out to regulate the ridesharing firm and create an “even playing field” for the taxi industry. But before doing so, the committee ripped out every clause that dealt with Uber.

It was about sending a message, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said.

“(The committee’s changes) would put Uber in a very difficult position to be able to continue the work that they’re doing,” he said.

“Council needs to understand that it’s a very delicate issue, a very complex issue and it’s not one to just vote yes or no to. They have to do their homework and research.”

If city council were to pass the amended staff report, it wouldn’t regulate Uber and would effectively undo many of the taxi rules introduced over the past 14 years. Mammoliti conceded city council could reverse every change made by the committee Friday.

“Council is supreme,” he said.

Councillor Jim Karygiannis said the committee’s work was about ensuring Torontonians are safe. Over the course of two days, they listened to over 100 speakers, most of whom were taxi drivers who don’t want Uber operating.

“There is overwhelming support to send it to council pretty well killing Uber,” he said.

“If council decides, in its own wisdom, to overlook the work of the committee, so be it.”

Earlier in the day, Uber filed a submission to the committee, saying it supports the report’s recommendations overall. But the company also said the proposed rules would create too much red tape.

“One too many seemingly innocuous pieces of regulatory red tape that don’t serve to advance a core pillar such as public safety risks putting ridesharing on life-support,” the Uber submission says.

Uber objects specifically to three of the report’s proposals:

— A ban on the use of vehicles over seven years old.

— The fees for applications and licences, which Uber says will see the city pocket $5 million a year.

— Requirements to share trip data with the city.