Representatives from Toronto’s taxi industry remain angry and are threatening to take action over the city’s delay in enforcing a bylaw that places restrictions on private transportation companies (PTC) such as Uber.
The iTaxiworkers Association told reporters Tuesday morning that its members are vowing to hold some sort of job action to pressure city officials to act “fairly.”
“The industry is thinking to take action. It could be legal action. It could be a job action. I’m aware of the fact that one of our groups have called for a demonstration on Aug. 17,” said president Sajid Mughal.
The new bylaw governing the Vehicle-for-Hire industry, including taxicabs, limousines and PTCs, took effect on July 15.
However, the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department said last week there is a delay in processing PTC license applications.
“There is a time delay because the city began receiving applications on July 15,” said Tammy Robinson of the City’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department.
“But all applications, not just this one, have a processing time. Due to that, we haven’t issued the actual licence to Uber yet. However, we have been working with them to meet all of the requirements.”
The city says the PTC licensing process is anticipated to be completed later this month.
Meanwhile, the taxi industry claims the city is dragging its feet and has reportedly threatened job action or demonstrations to get their point across.
“The taxi industry is really frustrated. One month has gone by and… no PTC license has been issued. All the Uber drivers working out there, we don’t know about their insurance, we don’t know how many Uber drivers are on the road,” said Mughal.
Uber confirmed to Global News last week they have complied with all the new regulations despite not receiving the license on paper.
“Over the last two months, we have been working to come into compliance with Toronto’s new by-law,” spokeswoman Susie Heath said in an email.
“We have applied for our PTC license and look forward to receiving it from the City of Toronto soon. The city has a phased application process and we expect to fulfill each phase as it becomes available.”
Toronto councillors voted in May to impose new rules that would allow ridesharing companies like Uber to operate in the city.
However, the vote was far from unanimous as some councillors argued the new bylaw was too lenient towards PTCs and would put passenger safety at risk.
Ontario recently joined Alberta as the only other province to approve insurance coverage from Intact Financial Corp. to Uber drivers.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario said the “blanket fleet coverage” addresses a “critical insurance gap” for the industry.
The new policy covers all Uber drivers, passengers and vehicle owners when Uber is in use, and when the app is off the vehicle owner’s personal auto insurance policy applies.