NEWS

Taxi drivers ask for emergency meeting at city hall to stop Uber

07/02/2015 11:53 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT
Toronto's taxi drivers are appealing to the city, police, insurance companies and the public to help stop the ride-sharing service Uber.

Toronto Taxi Alliance, a group of taxi representatives specifically formed to combat Uber, held a press conference at city hall to call for an emergency meeting on how to immediately stop the company's operations in Toronto.

"Please stop this. Please use existing bylaws to stop this before things get out of hand," said Behrouz Khamseh, the chair of Taxi Action. He was pleading with the police chief, Mark Saunders, to enforce bylaws against Uber.

Sam Moini, taxi fleet operator for Beck Taxi, called Uber a "rogue agency that does whatever it wants," unlike the Toronto taxi industry. But he said there could be action by taxi drivers if Uber continues.

"Public safety is at risk," he said.  "You're going to see chaos."

Moini drew parallels to violence in France, when taxi drivers rioted against Uber in Paris at the end of last month..

"When people are pushed to the limits and they have nothing to lose, things can get out of control and anything can happen," he said.

Coun. Jim Karygiannis was on hand to appeal to insurance companies to clamp down on riders. He warned Uber drivers that they could lose their insurance — mandatory in Ontario — if insurance providers knew they were engaged in ride-sharing.

He also warned of financial woes as a result of Uber's continued operation.

"Every cab pays a $5,000 year fee to the city. Do the math folks. That's $25 million," he said. "If all of a sudden we say we're going to do away with this, the city will lose $25 million. If we do the math, you will see it will hurt the city greatly."

He said he would be very disappointed if a member of his family took an Uber ride.

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