Mayor Tory’s ‘level playing field’ drains directly into City’s coffers, complain
beleaguered taxi operators
by Mike Beggs
The lengthy delay in the one-year Staff review of Toronto’s new Vehicle-For-Hire Bylaw has hung taxi operators even further out to dry if that’s possible.
The continuing delay of this report by Municipal Licensing & Standards (MLS) executive director Tracey Cook now reportedly put off until 2019 comes with cabby revenues decimated by about 50 percent, and Standard plate values driven down to around $90,000 (the so-called “taxi driver’s pension” not amounting to much in these inflationary times).
“It’s no use,” says long-time independent Zewgu, outside the central bus depot on Edward Street. MORE
Is this the way of the future, or a race to the bottom?
by Mike Beggs
The fallout from Uber’s March 16 traffic fatality in Arizona has raised some serious questions about the future of autonomous vehicle technology (and comes shortly after Uber reached a $245-million settlement of a trade secrets lawsuit filed against it by Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving arm).
Uber had already paused its trials in Arizona, Pittsburgh, California, and Toronto in light of this tragedy, when Arizona Governor Doug Ducey barred the company from further testing in his state, pending the outcome of inquiries by national transport safety regulators. MORE
Staff update on Mississauga’s Uber pilot project stingy with the facts
by Mike Beggs
Mobile Licensing staff offered updates on two key issues at the April 17 meeting of Mississauga’s Public Vehicle Advisory Committee (PVAC): the ongoing Pilot Project for Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s), and the Vehicle-For-Hire Accessible On-Demand Project.
The 18-month TNC trial project commenced last summer, essentially to study the best way to license Uber under a “replacement bylaw”. Uber’s chief rival Lyft has since entered the market and is also providing data to the City. MORE
A race to the bottom
To hear the wizards of Silicon Valley tell it, Uber and the PTCs have a visionary plan to make the world’s cities more efficient, functional environments in which to live. Gridlock, smog and cranky commuters will soon be a thing of the past. And far too many politicians and regulatory officials appear to have bought this far fetched pitch without so much as even pausing to consider the facts.
This month’s Cover Cab is Satnam Singh Gahunia who started driving cab in 1984. The veteran says he once made a good living. With the advent of Uber and city hall’s wide open accommodation of PTCs, he estimates he has lost 50-60 percent of his business. In fact, Gahunia deeply resents the whole concept that PTCs are a separate license category. He says Uber is clearly a taxi company.