Uber Licensed to Operate in Toronto, Cabbies Protest with ‘Taxi Lives Matter’

The City of Toronto has issued Uber a license to operate in Toronto, making the latter the first to receive a Private Transportation Company (PTC) designation. Council voted in May to legalize Uber after passing new Vehicle-for-Hire bylaws, which came into effect on July 15th.

Tracey Cook, Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards for the City of Toronto, said at a press conference yesterday “It’s the first licence issued to Uber in Canada.”

Uber spokesperson Susie Heath told CBC News the licence “comes as a result of cooperating with the City of Toronto as they work to implement the new city bylaw.”

The process means Uber will forward driver information to city officials, who will then screen drivers and issue licenses, with 12,000 expected to be completed by September. PTC bylaws state cars on the road cannot be older than seven years, a decision which has reduced Uber’s driver base by about 30 per cent.

Taxi drivers in Toronto aren’t happy about the move and staged a protest this morning at East York Civic Centre, with one sign saying “Taxi Lives Matter”.

Toronto taxi protest

Image via CBC News

Paul Sekhon, president of the United Taxi Workers Association, said yesterday “It’s a political stunt, hoping that out of shame we won’t do the protest anymore,” adding existing UberX drivers should be off the road until their city licenses are granted.

At this morning’s protest, he said “They should have respect for us,” saying “We’re here to do a full time job and provide food and put it on the table for our families.” Sekhon took shots at casual Uber drivers, driving as secondary jobs, saying they were “jokers”.

Many taxi drivers in attendance called for Cook to resign, over the way Uber has been handled in the city. This morning’s protest was peaceful and no roads were blocked.

Uber allows smartphone users to order and pay for a taxi through an app, which shows where your driver is in real-time. UberX allows drivers to shuttle passengers in their private vehicles, versus a traditional taxi cab.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Kael

    If taxi drivers acted like it was a job and not a joke, the public would have more respect for them. The crap they do and then have the balls to say they are professional.

  • Many99

    Taxs are the worst especially for my elderly parents one drove my mom home drunk another one tried to ask for cash payment from my parents even though the ride was already paid for through the beck app, if it wasn’t me reminding my parents before they took the taxi he might have gotten away with it.

  • It’s competition.
    Every business has competitors, you either evolve the business or you fall behind.
    You don’t see London Drugs protesting because BestBuy sells more computers.

    If you don’t like your job, or you think it’s starting to fail, go look for a newer or better one like every other working person.

  • That’s horrible!

  • At least nobody hung onto an Uber car while it was driving down the street this time!

  • So true

  • Sha

    It’s competition. Don’t be scared, be better.

  • Jake Mole

    Why don’t the taxi drivers become part time Uber drivers?

  • Because they’d be ‘jokers’

  • 1His_Nibs1

    You mean like the competition we see from the Pig 3?

  • Jason

    I don’t side at all with the taxi drivers. But wasn’t the main reason for uber was because we don’t have enough taxis available? and isn’t that the provincial or municipal government fault as they wont grant more licenses for those additional taxis?

  • Dominic

    It’s offensive that they feel like they can say Taxi Lives Matter, almost making a mockery of Black Lives Matter for a much less serious issue at hand.

  • Quattro

    Not offensive… just stupid. Yet they don’t hold a candle to the misguided “drama quest” of the members of Black Lives Matter – the delusional organization that only fosters what it’s trying to stop.