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Who’s responsible for scooping the taxi scoopers at Pearson

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

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When it comes to putting the brakes on taxi scoopers, it seems there isn’t much anyone can do.

CityNews first brought you the story of “Taxi Bandits”, drivers who solicit passengers from the arrival area of Pearson International Airport before they make their way outside. These passengers are then lured toward the parkade, are charged more than what they should pay for a ride and often asked to pay with cash only.

The airport has a private security firm to deal with scoopers but as one commissionaire told us, it’s easier said than done.

“It can be frustrating because they know the law,” says Wayne Jeffrey, a commissionaire at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“They are non-compliant with us, as commissionaires we can ticket their vehicles if they leave them unattended but that doesn’t seem to bother them.”

Jeffrey says all commissionaires can do is warn passengers when they see them with these taxi bandits. They don’t have the authority to stop them. That is up to law enforcement, but even they have very little influence.

“They’re providing a service,” said Constable Mark Fischer of Peel Regional Police.

“The difference is that the service that they are providing is not regulated under the licensing of the airport.”

Fischer added the most these drivers can be charged with is trespassing. While Peel police are still part of law enforcement in regards to illegal taxi services, hiring security units rests with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority

In a statement to CityNews the GTAA said, “The safety of our passengers is Toronto Pearson’s first priority. We engage private security and public education to protect our passengers against unlicensed taxis. We also cooperate with our partners at Peel Regional Police to deter unlicensed taxi drivers from operating at Toronto Pearson.”

“We recommend that passengers ask an airport employee if they are uncertain of where to go for legitimate taxi and limo service. Licensed drivers will not approach passengers in the public areas of the arrivals halls. Also, passengers should look for signage throughout the terminals to identify the verified taxi and limo stand areas. These stands are clearly marked at the curbs of both terminals’ arrivals areas.”

As for the city’s role, councillor Giorgio Mammoliti says there’s not much they can do either.

“This is federal jurisdiction,” said Mammoliti. “They need to change legislation so that municipalities can work in their bylaws to remove the cars of these drivers if they continue their illegal activities.”

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