TORONTO TAXIS HARD HIT BY VIRUS
By Ameer Shash
For Taxi News
Toronto’s taxi industry is taking a hard blow amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it has left drivers to fend for themselves.
With Uber already saturating the automotive transportation market against traditional taxicabs, systemic issues such as a scarcity of insurance brokers to sell insurance to cabbies as well as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for the future of drivers’ livelihoods.
In fact, the virus has been so widespread that at least 4, and perhaps as many as 10. Toronto airport taxi drivers have died due to complications of the virus in the past month.
This, in turn, has prompted fear of working during this pandemic, despite the fact that many taxi drivers in the City of Toronto must work to earn for their families.
Insurance brokers declining coverage for taxis means that many taxicabs are sitting idle in parking lots across the Greater Toronto Area.
This has sparked controversy over the future of cabs in Toronto, and it adds insult to injury as one Toronto cab driver explains.
A. Chowdhury, whose last name has been redacted at his request, had said, “We are slowly dying out here. I work 13-hour shifts and I am not making a single dollar. Not only that, it’s like I am punishing myself because I have expenses at the end of the day whether or not I am working”.
When asked if he feels there is enough support from the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing Standards or from his employer, Beck Taxi, he argued an adamant “No.”
He explains: “They can at the least give me [a] break for my insurance. I have kids entering university and what else am I to do now? What if I get sick?”
Another taxi driver employed by Royal Taxi named Sam had been frustrated by two separate events of the novel Coronavirus and the lack of insurance being an impediment to his work.
Sam has been a taxi driver for Royal Taxi since 2003, and argues that he has never been in such a predicament ever since he had begun working for Royal Taxi.
Sam says, “I even remembered when I first started driving [the] taxi during the SARS virus outbreak and I wasn’t even that nervous; business was as-usual but this is taking it to a new height.”
“I am contemplating retiring because expenses just do not match up with what I am earning to compensate for it.”
For how much longer the taxi industry can wait In the meantime, many Toronto taxi drivers are on the sidelines pending the recovery of the economy so they can return to serving a diverse city that has been crippled by an invisible attacker known as the Coronavirus.