Industry unites to take action against City and it’s so-called level playing field
To the editor,
I spent my formative years in communist Hungary under a system whereby the state owned everything. Our city hall is full of socialists which in my opinion is just another name for communists. Some of these socialist councillors have been manipulating the taxi business for decades including saddling us with the so-called level “playing field” of Uber and Lyft, without ever explaining what they mean by the term “level playing field”.
I am a PROUD entrepreneur and I have no problem with being called a capitalist. I bought my first business (my plate) in 1969 and after working hard (including many a 12-plus-hour days behind the wheel) I retired a few years ago living on the income my business provided.
The existing system prior to Mayor “Uber is here to stay” Tory, who changed it completely, was based on a promise and as it turns out a lie that a taxi plate is “your pension”. Currently my pension is sitting on the shelf not providing any income. The original concept was based on a strictly enforced issuing formula which over the years was diluted and eroded, especially since 1998 when the Ambassador program was created by the socialist geniuses at city hall led by Howard Moscoe and Denzil Minnen Wong. But now, we are all watching our industry, our businesses and our livelihoods being destroyed. Toronto literally gave Uber and others a licence to steal our business and in the process made all of us into beggars.
Earlier this year I wrote a few columns referencing the need for the industry to unite and fight back. I am delighted to report that the push back or revolution has begun. A Steering Committee of dedicated hard working people from across the industry has been formed and a legal challenge against the City has been initiated. You can join the revolution or be left without an income in the near future. For too long the City insisted that by creating PTCs they levelled the playing field. This is a bold lie, they did no such thing, in fact they did the exact opposite.
In 2012 the bylaw was strictly enforced against the taxi industry but not Uber which was allowed unfettered access to our taxi business for three years before Uber was legalized. The “levelling of the playing field” was accomplished with ruthless efficiency by flooding the streets of Toronto with Uber and Lyft without ANY RESTRICTIONS as to how many are actually needed to serve the needs of Toronto. It must be noted that the tariffs charged by these licensed transportation providers are a fraction of what taxis are allowed to charge AND the city is paid 30 cents for each trip, raking in millions at the expense of regulated taxis. It is also interesting that in some jurisdictions Uber was declared to be a taxi and our own Federal Excise Tax rules deems them to be operating a taxi business. So why aren’t they treated like regular taxicabs? I believe we all have had enough!
For the last 18 months a group of concerned individuals representing all components of the industry were meeting on a regular basis to formulate a plan of action. In March of this year a steering committee was formed with the mandate to initiate a legal challenge. The group commissioned a lawyer with industry experience to provide detailed research and opinion. The lawyer felt that we have a case for seeking damages. The Steering Committee was given the mandate to move forward. Everybody was aware that if we do nothing the industry and our income will be dead in a very short time.
We are asking ALL TAXI INDUSTRY members to unite and be part of this legal challenge. The new group is named: ALL TAXI OWNERS AND OPERATORS LIMITED
We need your monetary support to hold the City responsible for the damages they created. The question that everybody needs to ask: “How long can this go on before I can no longer make a living?” If your answer is “Not long and I’ve had enough” then you join us.
We are asking $500 from each participant. We will hold a General Meeting as soon as possible which will be combined with a duly democratic election. Please send your cheque to: All Taxi Owners and Operators Limited, 2238 Dundas St. W., Unit 218, Toronto, Ont. M6R 3A9
Please also read our ad on page 8 of this month’s Taxi News.