BUSINESS

Jim Watson Calls Taxi Drivers 'Thugs' Over Anti-Uber Video

08/07/2015 10:43 EDT | Updated 08/07/2015 10:59 EDT

Ottawa's mayor has traded strong words with a taxi driver after some cabbies sent their anti-Uber message to the city.

Jim Watson said that a group of drivers look like "thugs and bullies" after they secretly recorded themselves taking an Uber in an effort to build a case against the ride-sharing service, CTV News reported.

The video, which was posted to YouTube on Tuesday, shows the Uber car driving on the way to a McDonald's as the cabbies ask the driver a series of questions, such as how much he's paid and whether he needs a taxi licence to operate. The video also records the Uber driver's name, face, phone number and licence plate.

Cab driver Roy Noja, who works for Blueline Taxi, said the video's intent was to show that Uber is illegal, CBC News reported.

Uber drivers are working illegally if they don't have municipal taxi licences, said The Ottawa Sun.

But Watson didn't approve of a "posse ... going around and secretly videotaping people and their cars."

"It makes them look like they're thugs or engaged in vigilante activity, which I think harms them and [doesn't help] the cause."

He said people should not gather their own evidence for bylaw investigations. They should call 311 instead, he added.

Noja disagreed with Watson's assessment of him and his fellow drivers — and he had his own name for the mayor.

"He thinks of us as thugs, but we think of him as a puppet of Uber," he said.

Noja was previously in the news after unleashing a rant at a bylaw officer, in a video that was uploaded to YouTube on June 4, the Sun said.

He told the officer to "go fight Uber when we make a f***ing living for this f***ing job."

Noja received a bylaw ticket for being unprofessional. He told the newspaper that the ticket is still in the courts.

His latest video is one of a series that cabbies have been making in an effort to draw the city's attention to the ride-sharing company.

They come as taxi drivers plan a worldwide protest that is set to take place Sept. 16. Noja plans to partake, said CTV News.

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