To the editor,
(Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to the Chair & Members of Mississauga’s Public Vehicle Advisory Committee regarding that City’s proposal to issue 250 new taxi plates and its Uber pilot project slated to commence July 1st.)
Resolution 0054-2017, Item 3 significantly diminishes the public good and the ongoing viability of the taxi industry, given the two are inextricably linked. If said plates are issued, or even a portion thereof, logical, not to mention regrettable, consequences will ensue.
(1) Such a move will totally destabilize the taxi industry, seeing as driver market share will plummet below a sustainable level.
(2) No longer will service standards set by the City, and enshrined in the Public Vehicle Licensing Bylaw, be achievable.
(3) The pilot, set to commence July 1st, will be compromised, calling into question the allocation of Staff time and resources aimed at monitoring and assessing the project.
(4) Likewise, the detailed review of the Public Vehicle Licensing Bylaw, scheduled for completion this September, will be compromised in the face of a severely debilitated taxi industry.
(5) An increase in the demand for social assistance on the part of drivers and owners unable to support themselves and their families is assured.
(6) Income security for senior members of the industry and their spouses/widows, dependent on plate rental revenue, will be undermined.
(7) Plate values will be eliminated completely, leaving those who either paid fair market value, or who received an issue from the Priority List after giving up to 25 years of service, justifiably wondering why the City pulled the rug from under their feet.
(8) The number of the plates currently on the shelf will rise exponentially, begging the obvious question why issue additional plates, knowing full well it will contribute to an increase in the number of inactive plates?
(9) Finally, Resolution 0054-2017, Item 3 violates Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically the right to security of the person, seeing as the issuance of up to 250 plates will impose extreme hardship, as well as significant psychological stress, on hundreds of cabbies and their families.
Clearly, the City is at a crossroads. If these plates are issued, the damage, both direct and collateral, will be considerable. The prudent course of action is to rescind Item 3, thereby allowing both the pilot and the Bylaw review to unfold in the absence of undue interference.
Peter D. Pellier
To the editor,
(Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau.)
Dear Mr. Morneau,
The federal government's decision to treat transportation network companies, such as Uber, in the same manner as taxis for purposes of the GST/HST was welcomed by taxi industries across the country, and Canadians in general who support principles of equity and fairness in setting tax policy. After all, why should Uber be exempt from a tax applicable to all other suppliers of commercial ground transportation services? Come July 1st, a gross inequity in our tax system will be corrected, and justifiably so.
Recently, Uber hired the services of a high profile lobbyist, tasked with getting you and your colleagues to continue the GST/HST tax exemption Uber has enjoyed since bullying its way into the Canadian market. Make no mistake, this company will stop at nothing to get its way, such is Uber's aversion to playing by any rules deemed incompatible with its business model.
Millions of tax dollars are at stake - monies that deservedly belong in the federal treasury, as opposed to the pockets of Uber and its affiliated drivers. In the strongest possible language, you and your colleagues must stick to your guns regarding your March 22nd announcement to levy the GST/HST on Uber. Only by doing so will you send a clear signal that Canadian tax laws, as well as progressive, are equitable.
Peter D. Pellier
To the editor,
(Editor’s note: This is an open letter to the Mayor and members of Mississauga City Council.)
On April 12, 2017, Council adopted Resolution 054-2017 which recommended (Item 3) that up to 250 temporary taxi plates be issued to qualified taxi drivers on the Priority List for the term of the TNC Pilot Project.
The Hara Report on the state of Mississauga's taxi industry clearly illustrated the fact that, with the exception of accessible taxis, Mississauga currently has a sufficient number of taxis to satisfy current demand. However, in the interim, the open operation of the TNC's (primarily Uber) has resulted in the demand for taxis and taxi plates being reduced to the point where there are currently 18 taxi plates "on the shelf" (not being driven), even at historically low rental rates of $200-300 per month.
On July 1st, the TNC's will begin legal operation in Mississauga, and the Pilot Project is designed to investigate the impact that the operation of this service will have on the existing taxi industry. At no time during the Pilot Project hearings was it ever envisioned that there would be fundamental changes introduced into the taxi plate issuance formula which would effectively nullify any effective comparison. With the introduction of 250 extra taxi plates into the marketplace, there would be no way to determine whether the effects of the extra plates or the operation of the TNC's were the catalysts in the final determination of the state of the taxi industry.
I would urge you to support Items (1) and (2) in the resolution, supporting a compete review of the taxi bylaws, while holding Item (3) in abeyance until there is public, Staff, and industry input as part of the review in regard to plate issuance.
Taxi Industry Representative,
Mississauga TNC Pilot Panel