To the editor,
To date, Tracey Cook has not made one single comment about the travesty of justice perpetrated against members of the Toronto taxi industry. In short, she continues to pander to the wishes of her political masters, content to play the role of the obsequious civil servant. Anything she says will simply reflect this.
It has become crystal clear, taxi industries across the GTHA and beyond have no friends whatsoever at city hall. Whatever friends we might have had are either long gone, or have fallen in line with the prevailing attitude that curries favour with Uber and Lyft. It was this reversal in demeanour that caught us completely by surprise. After 50 years of responsible regulation, elected representatives did an about-face that left us both shocked and bleeding.
The folly of their actions had nothing whatsoever to do with changing technology, and everything to do with greed. After all, self-regulated operations, like Uber and Lyft, put far more money into the City’s coffers than do members of the taxi industry, with far less staff time devoted to enforcing taxi regulations. Manna from heaven.
As for consumer safety and protection… caveat emptor. As for traffic congestion… what’s another 60,000 additional vehicles on city streets already in the grip of gridlock?
Power corrupts, and so does money. Can the miasma which grips municipalities on this issue be swept away? Highly unlikely.
Peter D. Pellier
To the editor,
With 22 of the 25 councillors recently elected being incumbents, most of whom happily followed John Tory’s lead in the deregulation of our industry, the future certainly looks dim for our members.
It really points out the need to support the civil lawsuit against the City so we at least have the opportunity to tell our story in court. It may be our only chance to receive some compensation for what the City has done to us.
Gerald H. Manley
To the editor:
(Editor’s note: The following email exchange between Gerry Manley and Peter Pellier concerns the trail of Uber driver Abdihared Bishar Mussa who was facing four Criminal Code charges, including dangerous driving causing death, in the March 21, 2018 crash that killed Nicholas Cameron. Mussa pleaded guilty to a significantly reduced charge of dangerous driving.)
Gerry Manley: We know the City of Toronto has little to no concern about the safety of people who use Private Transportation Companies such as Uber or Lyft (who, at last count, have approximately 68,000 vehicles in their companies) because the City cannot provide any acceptable level of safety for those companies’ passengers, given the fact it has only about 10 bylaw inspectors dedicated to enforce Chapter 546— officers, additionally, who have No Authority to stop any vehicle.
You then couple that with the fact that the MLS turns back any complaints they receive against the PTCs or their drivers to the offending company, because the PTCs are self-regulating. But I never thought the crown and our courts would accept a reduced plea of careless driving in this case, for an Uber driver who was responsible for the death of his passenger and should have been convicted for criminal negligence causing death and given at least two years in jail.
I have to wonder how our politicians and bureaucrats sleep at night knowing that many of the ever increasing criminal actions of these companies and their drivers could have been prevented by fair and responsible regulation. What they have done is ceded complete authority for public safety to the PTCs at the peril of the consumer.
Obviously money talks and b.s. walks. So much for the City of Toronto Act promising the health, safety and well-being of persons and protection of persons and property, including consumer protection!
Peter Pellier responds: At the end of the day, Uber’s ‘success’ is predicated on the fact it offers a cheaper service than that provided by licensed cabbies, plain and simple. As you quite rightly pointed out, money talks.
What I will never understand is why people are willing to put their lives at risk with a self-regulating transportation service merely to save a few bucks. (And to think, when surge pricing is in effect, the passenger is actually paying more for the privilege of being driven by someone with no professional screening or training.)
I’ve asked myself the same question with respect to our regulators. How can they sleep at night knowing full well they have egregiously compromised consumer health, safety and protection by allowing PTC’s to operate literally at will?
With the carnage mounting, at what point will those in positions of authority wake up?