Co-op Cabs

Co-op Cabs

September 09, 2015 13:55 ET

What Happened to the Level Playing Field?

Toronto City Staff Report Proposes to Establish Special Rules for Uber Giving an Advantage Over the Local Taxi Industry

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 9, 2015) - Remember this quote from July? "There has to be one set of rules that apply to all companies." That was Mayor John Tory, who then instructed city staff to review the bylaws governing ground transportation and develop one set of rules for taxis and ridesharing that Council could then adopt.

Today, Toronto city staff has done the opposite, handcuffing the taxi industry and giving Uber preferential treatment. The major problems are:

  • Creating a new set of rules for companies that market themselves as technology companies. Taxi companies now all have apps that do exactly what Uber does. Why should there be a special set of rules for Uber?
  • Taxi companies will continue to have their fees set and monitored by the City. Uber will have no such restriction and can undercut the industry at times and still charge surge pricing when they see people are desperate for rides.
  • Uber will continue for the next several months with absolutely no regulation while the City allows it to gain further market share and is taking a "we trust you" approach to Uber saying it will someday develop an insurance product to cover its drivers and passengers in the case of an accident.

"What happened to the level playing field?" said Peter Zahakos, CEO of Co-op Cabs. "The real story is there is no level playing field. What we have is one set of rules for local companies that have invested in the Toronto economy and a different set of rules for $40 billion California company whose profits leave Canada."

"For a Mayor who says he is all about jobs, I'd like to know the rationale for taking this money out of the local economy and sending it to offshore hedge funds," added Zahakos. "We're all for competition, but not when we're put at a complete disadvantage."

"Given we all have technology that allows us to connect our passengers with our drivers, there is no longer a reason to operate as a licensed taxi and pay ridiculous licensing fees to the City while complying with their quagmire of rules. We'll simply operate like an Uber - but with professionally trained drivers and legitimate commercial insurance to protect our drivers and passengers if these new rules are passed," said Zahakos.

"We know Uber is the shiny new object, and the Mayor wants to appear hip and cool but we feel like we have been betrayed," said Zahakos. "He said one thing and then turned around and did another. Why has he betrayed us?"

About Co-op Cabs

Our distinctive red and yellow cabs have been navigating the streets of Toronto since 1956. Co-op cab drivers are proud owners of their own vehicles. Being small business owners motivates our drivers to provide the highest level of customer service and safety. We provide over 45,000 trips every month to customers with special needs. Our dedicated members have taken a special training in order to provide accessible transportation for people of all abilities across the Greater Toronto Area.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact: Co-op Cabs
    Alex Pierson
    Spokesperson
    416-358-3245