One Toronto councilor is accusing the city of caving to the demands of Uber and has even described the city’s plans to regulate the company as a “capitulation”.
Councilor Janet Davis says the city is allowing the U.S. based ride-sharing company to dictate the terms of the law, adding, “Instead of levelling the playing field we’ve dropped through the floor – and we’ve completely caved to Uber, and I’m shocked by it”.
Davis’ position has long been one of a councilor in favor of taxi reform and very much against the legalization of Uber in Toronto, so perhaps the criticism is expected. Still, she was clear to say that she feels the draft regulations drawn by city staff are not good enough.
“It says to me Uber’s arrogance and complete disregard for city regulation to date has been completely successful.”
The taxi industry has reacted angrily to the draft, arguing it is unfair and favor of Uber. Taxi drivers will have to pay higher fees and have different background requirements compared to drivers working for ride-sharing companies such as Uber. The city of Toronto attempted to address the balance by removing a 17-day training course that all cab drivers must undertake, while snow tires in winter and the ability to speak English and know CPR have been removed as requirements.
“Toronto has an opportunity to put the interests of its residents first and create a regulatory environment that protects drivers and allows companies to fairly compete,” Mayor John Tory said.
Licensing committee chair (appointed by Tory), Cesar Palacio, takes a different view and has been a vocal critic of the draft, arguing it is too weighted towards Uber. The committee is set to debate the changes next week and seeking ways to level the market will take precedence.
The draft plans is:
Taxi operatives pay $290 per year for license. Ride-share drivers pay $10 per year and 20 cents on each ride, while the company pays $20,000 once.
Cabs need vehicles inspections at city garages twice per year, while Uber cars would need one annual check and a Ministry of Transportation certificate.
Taxi drivers need a police background check. Uber drivers must present the check to the company, but Uber would only present to the city if requested to do so.
Both taxi and Uber drivers need $2 million collision and passenger insurance coverage.
There will be a limit on the number of cabs with regulated fares. No limit to number of UberX cars and Uber can still carry out surge pricing.
Only taxis can be hailed on streets.