The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) commends Licensing and Standards Executive Director Tracey Cook for taking action to declare UberX an illegal business in Toronto and hopes to see rigorous enforcement measures launched.
"We hope to see Tracey Cook and Licensing and Standards acting as responsible, effective regulators. Immediate enforcement of Toronto's by laws on UberX must occur," says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance
"Uber's blatant disregard for the laws and standards of the municipalities upon which it descends is nothing short of appalling. Uber does not simply offer unfair competition to existing regulated businesses; Uber mounts a direct assault on the rule of law. The TTA commends Toronto for taking a strong stand on behalf of our democratically elected city government and its right to design and implement by-laws which benefit the entire city, and not just one foreign private sector business.
"In the injunction attempt earlier this year, Uber got through on a loophole because, as Justice Dunphy pointed out, Toronto's definition of a 'taxi' was too weak to capture Uber and UberX. That problem was addressed at the September 30th Council meeting."
Also at the September 30th Council meeting, Councillors declared Uber an illegal business and asked Uber to cease operations until a new by-law which covers all ground transportation services – taxis, limos, and Uber – is prepared and presented. Uber replied by stating it would not cease operations but would continue to offer services deemed illegal in Toronto.
On October 15th, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi took the unprecedented step of warning residents in a written statement against driving for Uber: "I strongly suggest that you don't drive for Uber and that you don't use Uber until the insurance and regulatory issues are sorted out. If you drive for Uber, you should be aware that you are breaking the law."
"Toronto's taxi industry is made up of law-abiding business people who comply with all of the City's regulation concerning licensing fees, background checks, commercial insurance, metered rates, accessibility and driver training," Moini points out. "We are not afraid of competition; but we cannot compete against a company that believes it is above the law and acts accordingly."
The TTA looks forward to seeing the proposed new by-law to regulate ground transportation in Toronto, expected early in the new year.
"We'd like to see it before Christmas, frankly," Moini says. "The sooner the better."