Illegal and serial ticketing of taxis by police must end
To the editor, (Editor’s note: This is an open letter to members of the Toronto Police Services Board.)
Dear Board Members,
There can be no dispute that, as a group, the Toronto taxicab industry membership is ticketed by Toronto Police Services more than any other group. If that isn’t bad enough, they are also being ticketed illegally for “No Stopping Rush Hour Routes” infractions, when they are expressly exempted under a City of Toronto bylaw.
The Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 950, Traffic and Parking, Article IV Parking, Stopping and Standing, 950-405, Stopping, Standing and Parking restrictions and prohibitions on certain highways, sections “D” and “D1” exempts taxicabs under these sections and allows them to stop during rush hours if they are actually engaged in the loading or unloading of passengers.
This “No Stopping” illegal ticketing against taxicabs has dramatically increased since Mayor Tory’s zero tolerance for no parking and no stopping during rush hour period took effect in January of 2015. I am sure it was not the position of the Mayor to have the Toronto Police Services issue illegal tickets to address this serious situation, but as a matter of fact that is what is occurring against the taxicab industry.
When our members are ticketed in this manner, they must attend court to have the case dismissed, which is costly for them, taking precious time away from their business that is already substantially reduced because of other City policies and in reality, should not happen as the taxi driver has not committed an offence under the City’s bylaws.
This issue has been brought to the attention of the Office of the Chief of Police Services on many occasions over the past few years and each time, we receive a communication that each police division will be made aware of the taxicab exemption for “No Stopping” yet the ticketing continues. There are only two conclusions I can draw from this. Either the police divisions have not been notified of this illegality in their enforcement or they are disregarding the instructions from the Chief of Police’s office.
Either way, our membership cannot get this very serious issue resolved through the Chief’s office, so we are escalating the complaint to the Toronto Police Service Board with the hope that once and for all, Toronto Police Services will be instructed by the Board to cease and desist from ticketing Toronto taxicabs for “No Stopping” violations if they are in the process of picking up or letting out a passenger in a signed rush hour route.
Since it will take some time for the ticketing in this area to cease once and for all, I am requesting the Board to instruct the Chief to allow any ticket issued against taxi drivers or owners in this situation to be taken directly to the nearest division and automatically rescinded.
Our membership is also requesting that a verbal caution be given to any police officer or parking control officer who illegally issues a ticket under these circumstances and that it be recorded in their file and if it occurs on any subsequent date, that the police officer or parking control officer receive some sort of internal disciplinary action.
It is the wish of our approximately 10,000 taxicab members that this issue be handled post haste, in an administrative way, but if that does not occur immediately, then our members will have to proceed either by laying a citizen’s complaint for abuse of authority against the police officer or parking control officer who issued the ticket or seek financial restitution in small claims court for what it costs the taxi owner or taxi driver to appear in court.
As Chief Saunders and his Police Services membership are always asking for public assistance in doing their job, our membership is asking him and his members to enforce what is only legal to enforce and to stop targeting the taxicab industry when it comes to ticketing. Giving a taxi driver multiple tickets at the same stop is not responsibly enforcing the law and constitutes persecution by Toronto’s Police Services.
Our members are requesting that this serious issue be placed as an agenda item on the next Police Services Board meeting and if there is any need for our membership to appear at that meeting to address this concern, we will be more than happy to attend.
Gerald H. Manley
To the editor,
In the March 2018 edition of Taxi News there is a column headed by the title “Toronto’s taxi industry needs official representative voice at city hall.” I believe there are a couple of inaccuracies and/or omissions in this article.
In the 3rd paragraph it refers only to the power given to the Executive Director of the MLS (presently Tracey Cook) but there is an omission here as the Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC) comes under not just Ms. Cook’s authority, but under the authority of the City Manager that the Municipal Licensing and Standards falls under. It is my understanding that whatever happens with the TAC and its operations would have to be approved by both entities, not just the Executive Director of the MLS.
In the 5th paragraph near its end it states “It must be noted that the current dormant TAC was a result of a democratic election process.” In the past, that was correct, but the present TAC membership was done by an appointment process not an elected process, which brings its viability for our membership even more in question and certainly nullifies its effectiveness to deal with taxi industry issues especially when you couple in the ideas that our membership was and is not allowed to make deputation in front of TAC. Nor does TAC have any authority to set the meeting agenda without the approval of the City Manager and the Executive Director of the MLS.
In the 11th paragraph it mentions that TAC is not mentioned on Toronto’s official website anywhere. That is in fact true, nor is it mentioned in the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 546, Licensing of Vehicles-for-Hire, which was enacted on July 15, 2016 and is the current legislation governing the taxicab industry. It is my understanding that neither a City Manager nor the Executive Director of MLS could administratively remove or exclude TAC from the present bylaw as that would have to be passed by city council, which did not occur, so why is TAC not in Bylaw 546 and not still holding meetings?
If you look honestly at the original and current make-up of the TAC, even though it has been years since they have even had a meeting, this committee was set up strictly as a political ploy by the City to give the appearance to our membership that there was a committee and process in place to deal with industry issues, but in fact it had no direct authorities to enact the changes we required and was and is front-end-loaded for the City to totally control the TAC and ergo the taxi industry. This permits the City to disregard any industry input while giving the appearance they actually care about the industry membership, when in point of fact, the industry’s six-decades-long history in Toronto has proven the exact
Illegal and serial ticketing of taxis by police must end