Toronto's taxi industry is relieved to learn Toronto police have identified the Uber driver wanted for sexual assault last week, but astonished that police had to appeal to the public to locate the driver because Uber had no contact information for him.
"Last week, Toronto Police posted a notice asking for the public's help in locating an UberX driver wanted for sexual assault," says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance. "The TTA extends its sincerest sympathies to the young woman who was harmed."
The Toronto Star, The Sun, The National Post, The CBC, Global News, CP24 and many other media outlets co-operated with police and dedicated space or airtime asking members of the public to assist police in identifying this man.
"It was very generous and civic-minded of these media outlets to help police in this way and we are relieved for all Torontonians that he has been located.
"However, no one posting this notice commented on the fact that Uber apparently could not locate one of its own drivers," Moini points out. "Uber also could not provide the age of the driver; the police list an age range of 26-30 years old. In fact, he is 21. This cannot be allowed to happen again."
On September 30, Toronto City Council will vote on several issues concerning UberX. These Councillors have been consistently misled over Uber policies and especially the safety features offered – or more accurately, not offered – by UberX. For a year Uber has claimed that because the driver's photo and first name (not last name) is displayed on its smartphone app, this somehow ensures passenger safety. This week, Toronto learned that this is clearly not true. Uber does not even have the last name of its own driver; the "background check" they claim to conduct on their drivers is not compliant with the City of Toronto's requirements and remains a mystery to anyone seeking information.
"The fact that Uber could not identify and locate one of its own drivers and that police had to turn to the public for help is an absolute travesty," Moini says.
"It highlights once again – as recent coverage of UberX's lack of insurance for its drivers has also done – that Uber misleads the public and politicians repeatedly as part of its business model and Toronto City Councillors must keep this in mind when they vote on September 30 before they vote whether or not to dismantle Toronto's existing cab industry."
- Toronto taxis have roof lights, city approved meter rates, door numbers, in-car cameras and driver IDs posted. UberX has none of these features.
- Toronto taxi drivers take a 3 week training course and are licensed by the City. UberX drivers do not.
- Toronto taxi drivers must have a police background check. UberX drivers do not.
- Toronto drivers must carry $2M worth of commercial insurance. UberX drivers do not.
"Uber continues to mislead the public by repeating the claim that they have a $5 million dollar policy which covers their drivers, despite the fact that the Insurance Bureau of Canada has pointed out that is a standard non-owned auto insurance policy which does not offer coverage to their drivers; it exists to protect Uber in the case of negligence," Moini adds.