TORONTO – A group representing cab drivers in Toronto says it has had enough and is now contemplating whether a strike will get its message across to the city and province.
Sajid Mughal, president of iTaxiWorkers Association said a meeting will be held this week to decide if the taxi industry will pursue a strike.
“The general feeling is enough is enough, we need to take some action to send over to the politicians that the cab industry is hurting,” Mughal said.
“The illegal unlicensed drivers … they are stealing cab driver business and that must be stopped.”
Beck Taxi issued a press release on Tuesday urging calm amidst strike rumours.
“Beck empathizes with Toronto’s hard working taxi drivers and the frustration they face while black market taxi operators continue to break our city’s laws, but I urge all Beck taxi drivers to continue to uphold the professional standards that Toronto taxi users expect of us and our service,” Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager at Beck said in a statement.
“While it is regrettable that the continued civil disobedience being practiced by UberX drivers is causing a lot of frustration, I urge our drivers to not withhold service or make congestion worse, which would only inconvenience our valued customers.”
A spokesperson for Uber said in a statement that ride-sharing services and traditional taxis are “complementing each other,” adding the company continues to be “forward looking” as it works with the city to “modernize transportation regulations.”
“Torontonians deserve safe, reliable and affordable rides in our city, and we have seen that ridesharing and traditional taxi are complementing each other to better serve rider and driver needs here, just as we’ve seen in the over 350 cities worldwide in which we operate.”
“We are committed to serving the people of Toronto as part of our city’s expanding transportation network and continue to be forward looking as we work with the City of Toronto to modernize transportation regulations.”
READ MORE: Tory wants Uber to operate in ‘good faith,’ provide upfront insurance policy
Mayor John Tory said he is sympathetic to the taxi industry, adding the city is working to develop regulation that would help even the playing field for cab drivers.
“We are presently developing regulations that on the one hand – for the first time – bring Uber and other technologies like it – under regulation and create responsibilities for them that others – including taxis – have borne for some time,” Tory said.
The mayor quickly referenced the $1 decrease in base fares that was implemented Nov. 1.
READ MORE:Taxi base fares drop $1 in Toronto starting Nov. 1
“It is meant to make them more competitive in the ground transportation system,” Tory said.
“With respect in the matter of a strike, obviously people will decide to do whatever is best for themselves.”
Mughal said the $1 decrease has nothing to do with the possibility of a strike.
“The $1 decrease is not in question. We are not asking the city if they should not do it or should do it more,” Mughal said.
“We are just asking there is illegal activity happening in Toronto and they must stop it.”
Mughal was unable to confirm the specific date of the meeting, but did say it will be happen sometime this week.