Why can’t we all get along in Uber versus taxi fight

by | Feb 11, 2016 | City News, News, Opinion

Corey Brehaut

Taxi unions and Uber are engaged in a bitter war of attrition in Canada over who gets the raw deal on private transportation when their attention should be directed at the predatory laws that negatively affect both parties.

While cities across Canada scramble to regulate the California-based ride share company, cab companies are setting up massive protests against Uber. Most recently, over 250 cab drivers protested the company on Parliament Hill. This came just a week after Edmonton legalized Uber, making it the first Canadian city to do so. Meanwhile, Toronto has made Uber tangentially illegal.  The taxi unions do have some fair points. Uber drivers do not have the proper licenses, permits or insurance that cities require for cab operation, which was the cause of a protest at Toronto city hall on Dec. 9. Cab drivers often work for incredibly long hours to barely make ends meet and they’re being undercut by the ride-sharing service. Maybe these are just the times, though.

Perhaps most appealing to the millennial market is that rather than hailing a taxi or calling a surly dispatcher, customers need only press a few buttons on their smartphones and BAM! Uber ordered.

Uber offers a service that often arrives at locations faster, with lower rates and significantly better customer service than cab drivers weaving in and out of traffic while taking the longest possible route to a destination- running the meter up.

Rather than adapt to having competition for the first time in history, taxi drivers throw a tantrum.

It does not make a good case when a protester repeatedly slams their fists on a car, tries to break into it and holds onto the door as they are dragged 50 feet before letting go as one Toronto cab driver at the Dec. 9 protest against Uber was taped doing in a viral YouTube video.In Edmonton, Uber drivers are required to undergo criminal background checks, vehicle inspections, license applications and get commercial insurance. Not having these are the main complaints that taxi drivers level against the service in Toronto.

Once the unfair advantages of Uber are stripped away, all that’s left is fair competition.

Part-time Uber drivers are unhappy with these regulations since they are restrictively pricey for those with only one foot in the waters and even Uber wants a single corporate insurance plan, as is done in the United States. Fair.

So Uber and cab companies are going after each other. But their sights are aimed in the wrong direction.

Requiring every single cab driver to have their own commercial insurance is a predatory practice and serves only to line the coffers of cities. It’s no different from unreasonable parking fees, paying $100 every time a personal license expires or any number of ridiculous driving fees incurred merely by having the capacity to drive a car.

Instead of fighting each other, Uber and taxis should take aim at having the laws and regulations in Canada changed.

And please, don’t picket the basketball All-Star game. Nothing good can come of that.