It has been a very sad time for me and others involved with this paper, but the simple reality is I cannot continue losing money every month.

People who are regular readers of this paper have noticed the fall off in ads over the past year. One gentleman, when told of the decision, asked, “What took you so long?”

Good question. The best answer I can think of is that I firmly believed, and still do, that the taxi industry in Toronto is valuable and deserves to be as well-informed as possible about what is going on that directly affects it and you.

I also absolutely believe you have been treated shabbily by our city government for years. Never more so since the advent of the Ubers, and Lyfts and their clones.

Before the advent of the PTCs, you were treated as nothing more than cash cows by successive city governments and your regulators, a never-ending and bottomless pit source of money. At the same time, you have been consistently, and in my firm opinion, unconscionably, demeaned, denigrated, spurned and despised by those same regulators and successive city councils.

While, for years, the regulators did have some knowledge of the industry and the people who worked in it, in recent years a flood of new people have replaced those who understood. The new folks simply have no concept of what you go through on a daily basis. Worse, neither the new regulators nor their masters on City Council show little, if any, interest in actually learning about what effect their policies and laws have on your daily life, and indeed, personal safety on the road, serving the people of and visitors to this city.

The attitude is typical of governments everywhere, “Well, if we got it wrong this time we can always change it later.” That the wrongheaded decisions cost you as individuals hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year or the industry overall millions of dollar a year, is utterly irrelevant to mandarins who can always fall back on taxpayers to pay for their mistakes.

Furthermore is the prevalent opinion that an action, “Is legal until a Judge tells me it isn’t.” 
Elected types and bureaucracies rely on the fact that it can cost tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get to the point where a Judge makes a decision. I personally have privately called it the “Courtroom craps game.” It is a huge and very expensive gamble to go the legal route.

For some reason people think they will get some nebulous concept of “Justice” in court. Instead what they get is lawyers, Judges and the law. Not the same thing.

So this is the long version of why I kept the print version of the paper there for so long. I think it helps bring you together in a very real way, uncovering and documenting the, what others and I perceive to be, gross injustices inflicted on you all daily.

The elected and mandarins don’t give a hoot about even your safety on the job. If they did they would still be checking cameras and vehicle maintenance and making sure you are trained in how to avoid or deal with dangerous situations. They don’t care a hoot about taxi customers either, at least financially, as they don’t even bother to check taximeters to ensure fares are being charged honestly. Care? In a pigs’ ear.

You are required to have commercial insurance on your taxis. Are Uber and Lyft etc. similarly covered? Again, not a chance. Customers may be insured, but drivers are in the cold.

Taxi drivers have to obey bylaws. The city has handed over bylaw enforcement to the private PTCs. I still have no idea why anyone thinks this is good idea. If it is difficult to enforce against the PTCs, ask why it is so hard. Is it because the city doesn’t enforce the laws requiring these vehicles to be identifiable?

In a recent Toronto Star story about drivers switching off with legal PTC registered drivers around the word, I noticed there is not one syllable about what the situation is here in Toronto. Not one comment from a mandarin or elected type. I wonder why not.

You get the idea. The list of grievances you have, or should have, are very long indeed, and certainly are not covered in this comment.

So no more print version, at least until ad revenues justify paper and ink. But here we are on line.

This is a work in progress. I and those working with me to get it out to you know we will make mistakes. A zillion pitfalls await. I absolutely want to get your feedback about what we have done right, and what we need to improve upon. We will listen and if possible will make appropriate changes.

One of the great things about putting this online is we can make change on the fly. Paper has had to sit out there for a month. If we need to change something, or add new content, we can do it very quickly. Not immediately perhaps, but reasonably promptly.

So I suggest you regularly check us out and see what, if anything, has changed.

The costs to advertisers will be way down, which I hope will translate into some coming back and others to consider us where they would or could not in the print version. Face it: print is very expensive. Not just the printing costs, but the need to manually lay out and design and edit any number of stories, and get the page number right, and size ads properly and fit stories to available space and a host of other finicky details we don’t have to consider for the on line version. Those details cost. I didn’t mind so much when ads were there to pay the freight, but now…

I wish you and your families all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Other faiths and traditions also celebrate at this time of year, and I extend my best wishes to you as well. Please be safe out there. Make sure you come home to your families.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in Taxi News.


December 2019