Is The Toronto Uber Debate Reaching A Boiling Point?

By Albert Conforzi | August 17, 2015

THE UBER DEBATE RAGES ON; HERE’S PACE LAW FIRM’S TAKE ON THINGS

 

Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer Albert Conforzi: The latest chapter in the Toronto/Uber saga is threatening to become very Punch Imlach: If you can’t beat ’em in the courts, beat ’em in the alleys:

At least 99 UberX drivers now face 198 bylaw violations as the City of Toronto fights to rein in the California-based ride-sharing giant.

The city says it will keep charging private vehicle owners trying to make some extra cash by connecting with passengers through the Uber app. Cheering on the city is the traditional taxi industry, whose representatives say unlicensed “bandits” are putting passengers at risk and could bankrupt those who follow the city’s rules.
Having lost their initial challenge of Uber X, the City of Toronto is now trying to wear down the weakest links in the piece—the independent contractor drivers. By-Law enforcement officers are now out writing up a storm of citations against the little guy. Again, time will tell to what, if any, extent it will be successful. Perhaps more energy should be spent trying to figure out what a new taxi or limo registration machine should look like.

Unfortunately, if the legal issues aren’t ironed out soon, things could get ugly:

Toronto cab drivers block an UberX driver from accepting a passenger and threaten to take his GPS device in a video shared online.

The video, shared by Justin Burrows, an UberX driver himself, shows the altercation which took place near the Fairmont Royal York hotel on Front Street West last week. Burrows says it’s video evidence of the growing hostilities between traditional cab drivers and those who drive for Uber, a battle that’s being fought at city hall and in the streets.


The last thing we need is violence in the streets over hailing a ride. City Hall needs to solve this issue, and quickly.

I recently had my first Uber ride while in Manhattan. It was a black car service. The driver had a registration as a limo driver ($350.00 approx.) and insurance as a vehicle for hire. His arrival was prompt; his demeanour was professional; his music playlist was excellent; and the fixed price fare was affordable going from lower to mid-town Manhattan. The only thing that he did not have was a New York city taxi medallion that costs about $50,000. As a customer, I was more than satisfied. As far as I could tell, my driver was pretty happy with the way things were going, too.

The world is changing and Uber is filling a need that the old traditional forms of passenger livery are not serving. If that weren’t the case, Uber would be failing as opposed to spreading around the world.

There won’t be stopping this tide in Toronto for long. Cool heads need to prevail in making this transition as peaceful and convenient as possible.