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Cab driver protest to target Friday evening rush: taxi rep

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2016

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A representative for the taxi drivers planning to strike during the NBA All-Star weekend says their protest will target the evening rush hour on Friday.

“We stand firm on our grounds and we are going to stick to our original plan, and that is to go protest on [Friday],” Paul Sekhon, head of the newly formed United Taxi Workers Association of the GTA, told Breakfast Television on Wednesday.

Cabbies are hoping the protest will draw attention to the growing rift between UberX and licensed taxis.

He also said further details of the strike action will be announced around 11 a.m. at City Hall. Three councillors and nine taxi representatives will be speaking alongside Sekhon.

Sekhon said they have already received permits from police for their protest on Friday. He said the protesting cabbies will head down Highway 427, to the Gardiner Expressway, Bay and York ramps, Lake Shore Boulevard, and around the Air Canada Centre.

He said there’s only one thing that could happen to prevent the strike: “We want UberX to be banned in the City of Toronto, we want UberX to be shut down. There should be no UberX illegal services at all.”

Sekon said drivers want to make their voices loud and clear, and said those who take taxis “stand with us.”

“We believe doing this is the only way we are going to get our voices heard loud and clear at an international level,” he said.

Sekon said although full details will be released later Wednesday morning, he expects the taxis to start disrupting traffic around the evening rush hour.

Beck, one of the city’s largest taxi companies, is urging its drivers not to take part in the planned protest. President Gail Beck-Souter tells drivers that the protest is misguided, and it “would give Uber exactly what they want.”

Toronto cab drivers are upset that UberX drivers are not facing the same regulations and standards that they are.

The Workers Association was formed at a meeting on Sunday night. It is designed to protect all members of the taxi industry, from drivers all the way up to brokerages.

Organizers say that since city council voted to delay a possible injunction against UberX last week, cabbies are being forced to take matters into their own hands. The City of Toronto has also granted a taxi brokerage license to Uber, putting it on the same footing as regulated taxi companies Beck and Royal.

The Uber app can be used to summon licensed cab drivers. But another of the company’s services, UberX, connects passengers with private drivers, who use their own vehicles and do not have taxi licences.

The taxi industry argues that UberX is unregulated and its drivers don’t have commercial licences, putting passenger safety in jeopardy while simultaneously driving traditional cabbies out of business.

Comments

  • JohnTaylor says:

    I wish they would explain how angering their customers by causing inconvenience is going to help their cause. The first time I used Uber is during the last protest. I suspect this weekend will be the second time.

    In fact if the taxis of Toronto do inconvenience me this weekend, I’ll likely move to UberX exclusively and be done with the old, smelly, loud radio taxis of Toronto who often lie about their credit card system being broken so I have to pay cash.

  • Barbara Adams says:

    I think what they are doing is right, but is a bad weekend to be doing it. I would never use uberx under any circumstances. I think UberX needs to be band from Toronto.

  • Roger Schram1 says:

    Well I think its the wrong time to do it. It’s sounds like it’s going to be one of the busiest weekend since the holidays. Going to loose any respect from us the public along with a ton of money. Good luck

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