To the editor:
Something is profoundly wrong in a democratic state when a Mayor can lead a council to vote for an unproven, radical overhaul of the system to satisfy a foreign corporate behemoth like Uber so the City can pocket 33 cents a ride, throwing the original tried and true standards of law to the wayward wind. Then blithely and irrationally stand by and watch as the ride-hailing interlopers flood the streets and devastate the livelihoods of thousands of workers who provided seventy years of dedicated, professional public service! The Toronto Taxi industry’s assets of 2 billion dollars are down to one hundred and eleven million! Mayor Tory, you and your council minions should be ashamed!
To the editor,
An article appeared recently in the Toronto Star in which the writer urged Council to reject a recommendation from the General Government & Licensing Committee seeking the elimination of all VFH emission standards in its quest to totally deregulate the for-hire ground transportation industry. This, in light of the Transform TO plan that has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 44 percent since 1990.
In the past five years, the number of PTC affiliated vehicles has increased 500 percent. Currently, the 90,000-plus operators service some 176,000 trips daily. Furthermore, the average PTC vehicle is 20 percent less efficient than the average taxi.
In pandering to Uber and Lyft, the GCLC is prepared to completely override the City’s attempt at reducing greenhouse gasses. To date, the City has encouraged favourable treatment for PTC’s every step of the way, even though it totally contradicts Transform TO’s principal objective.
The inconsistency, not to mention the hypocrisy, is staggering.
Peter D. Pellier
To the editor,
(Editor’s note: This letter was addressed to Taxi News publisher John Duffy but some of our readers could no doubt provide valuable insights for Fabian Namberger’s research project. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Fabian and I am a PhD student at Goldsmiths College, London (UK). I am writing to Taxi News, because my research focuses on Toronto’s transportation system and, in particular, Toronto’s taxi industry and the recent growing influence of private transportation companies such as Uber.
Importantly, one key aspect of my research is the regulation of taxicabs in Toronto and the changed working conditions for drivers that have resulted from it over the last years and decades (especially, with the major taxi reforms in 1998 and 2014).
Also, I am particularly interested in the more recent changes and struggles that have occurred since UberX entered Toronto in 2014 and the ensuing 2016 bylaw and its current review. As is crystal clear from reading the many articles that have been published in Taxi News recently, the 2016 bylaw has caused tremendous problems and distress for the taxi industry and, in particular, for taxi drivers.
Taxi News is without doubt one of the richest resources for my research. So, even though through reading Taxi News online I could arrive at a much deeper understanding of Toronto’s taxi industry in general and the struggles and problems of drivers in particular, it would be a tremendous help for me to talk to you or your colleagues and perhaps learn even more about the topic.
I would be very pleased, if you were ready to take part in a semi-structured research interview with me. I find it very important for my research to learn about drivers’ perspectives not only from newspaper articles (e.g. in the Toronto Star), but to try to get some first-hand perspectives - both from drivers (I will try to arrange interviews, too) and people closely involved with the industry, in order to see how they themselves see and express their situation and struggle.
I should say that I don’t live in Toronto permanently. I was in town for a first research stay during September to December last year. So, overall I feel a bit like an “outside intruder” on this topic, which makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Even more so, I hope I will be able to get in touch with drivers and people who have first-hand experience with the industry and the regulatory process. For me it’s something very different to read about the issue in newspapers (say, in the Toronto Star) or hear from people themselves how they perceive their situation.
Unfortunately, I cannot offer you any monetary compensation for your time. But please be sure that I am eager to provide help with my research, if there is something that might be of interest for you. On that note: I am happy to tell you more about me and my research project, of course, either via email or potentially even in person. I know that you must be very busy, so please be sure that I appreciate, if you take the time and read this email. I will be in Toronto between 4 September and 5 November this year. Maybe it would be possible to arrange an interview during this time? Of course, also an interview via skype could be an option, if you prefer.
As said, I’m more than happy to provide you with more information about me, my research or anything else that might be of interest to you. For now, please feel free to have a look at some information about my PhD project at my university’s webpage (under “Namberger Fabian”). Please note, however, that the description of my project is a little out-dated, as my focus has shifted quite radically from self-driving vehicles and questions of mere technology to the actual realities of drivers (both Uber and taxicabs): https://www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/research/current-phd-students/
All interviews that I conduct are anonymous. Your name, in other words, won’t appear anywhere and I am of course happy to respect any other wishes you might have, be it in terms of anonymity or anything else. Just let me know, please.
I very much look forward to hearing from you.
All the best, Fabian