Massive class action suit against City is taxi industry’s ‘last hope’
by Mike Beggs
Mounting a $1.7 billion class action suit in Ontario Superior Court, Toronto taxi owners/operators (under the banner of the Association of Taxi Owners and Operators Ltd., or ATOOL) allege the City has reneged on a “social contract” promising that their Standard plates would one day serve as their “taxi driver’s pension”.
Instead, plate owners – many of, or nearing retirement age – have seen their plate and lease values crash and burn, while the City has allowed Uber and other Private Transportation Companies (PTC’s) to saturate the market with upwards of 70,000 cars, and operate under virtual self-regulation. MORE
MLS wraps up industry consultations with plenty to think about—or ignore
by Mike Beggs
The widespread popularity of Uber X and Lyft is hard to contest. But that high-tech convenience has come at a cost – with taxi driver revenues down by more than half, plate and lease rates reduced to nominal amounts, heightened concerns about the safety of the riding public , and studies finding that ridesharing has actually increased downtown gridlock and pollution.
The state of these disruptors, known as Private Transportation Companies (PTC’s) was the focus of a consultation in mid-September, as Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) launched into its long overdue Review of the City’s controversial Vehicle-For-Hire bylaw. MORE
Aggrieved TTL owners advise MLS review staff their situation is desperate
by Mike Beggs
With all the chaos heaped on the taxi industry over the past few years, it’s Toronto Taxi License (TTL) holders who are clearly the most hard done by.
And with the City finally underway with a Review of its Vehicle-For-Hire bylaw, about 40 to 50 of these drivers attended a dedicated TTL consultation on September 17 at North York Civic Centre to plead for relief again.
Industry leaders agree the 550 existing TTL’s represent a vast oversupply of these cost-prohibitive, wheelchair accessible vans, which service both TTC WheelTrans clients, and the regular riding public. MORE
Follow the gravy train
No wonder the people at city hall are such huge fans of Uber and the PTCs. It’s right there in Municipal Licensing and Standards’ 2018 operating budget: “PTC regulations permit and regulate companies like Uber and revenue is generated through a licensing fee structure which includes a $0.30 per-trip fee for all trips originating in the City of Toronto. A volume adjustment to PTC daily trips from 49,570, as approved in the 2017 budget, to 57,935 will result in additional revenue in 2018 of $0.916 million.
This month’s Cover Cab is veteran industry advocate and retired owner/operator Andy Réti, a founding member of the Association of Taxi Owners and Operators Ltd., the group behind a $1.7 Billion law suit against the City. “We are in a death spiral facilitated by the City of Toronto,” says Réti. “ATOOL is fighting on behalf of the entire industry. If we don’t get this going, we can all kiss goodbye to everything we ever worked for.”