Hamilton, taxi industry moving in same direction, say councillors

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s taxi drivers urged councillors to put the brakes on the Uber service operating in the city.

“We have an unlawful illegal business taking away business from lawful businesses,” said Steve Jones, an accessible taxi driver, representing the taxi industry before politicians at their April 6 governance issues committee meeting. “They don’t pay taxes.”

With over 50 cabbies in the council chambers cheering Jones on, he outlined the safety regulations and licenses taxi drivers have to pass while Uber drivers ignore any city requirements.

Jones said Hamilton needs to crack down on Uber drivers and enforce the city’s existing bylaws.

He said Hamilton should follow the lead of other Canadian cities, including Calgary, Mississauga, Brampton and Ottawa that have passed bylaws suspending the operations of ride-sharing companies, and have introduced higher fines and safety regulations for Uber operators to follow.

Edmonton approved a ride-hailing bylaw March 1, requiring drivers to carry insurance, and pass a police information check.

Jones acknowledged there are some taxi drivers who have become Uber drivers, and the taxi industry has seen a drop off. He said there are about 1,025 cabbies.

“All we are asking is a level playing field,” said Jones.

But Hamilton councillors said the city has been done exactly what the taxi industry has requested.   

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead agreed with the taxi industry.

“This is an attack on society, an attack on stability,” he said.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said in February council approved a motion calling for the creation of new licensing rules for both taxis and ride-hailing companies.  Council has also asked Uber to halt its service until new rules are introduced by the city.

“We did stand up for you,” said Merulla.

But he also put the blame on the provincial and federal governments for not doing enough to stop these sharing service industries. He said municipalities have limited powers to halt businesses.

“The province and federal governments could shut down Uber in a second,” he said.

Merulla said he backed away from introducing a motion seeking an injunction against Uber until the report is presented to politicians. He got the idea about an injunction from Calgary council.

Director of Licensing Ken Leendertse said a report on a “Hamilton-made” model will be introduced to politicians on April 20. He said staff used some ideas from Calgary and Ottawa. He said consultations will take place during the summer on the proposed bylaw.

Leendertse said the city has already laid 35 charges against 22 Uber drivers for violating the city’s bylaw. He said the fines if convicted are about $250.

Hamilton, taxi industry moving in same direction, say councillors

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s taxi drivers urged councillors to put the brakes on the Uber service operating in the city.

“We have an unlawful illegal business taking away business from lawful businesses,” said Steve Jones, an accessible taxi driver, representing the taxi industry before politicians at their April 6 governance issues committee meeting. “They don’t pay taxes.”

With over 50 cabbies in the council chambers cheering Jones on, he outlined the safety regulations and licenses taxi drivers have to pass while Uber drivers ignore any city requirements.

Jones said Hamilton needs to crack down on Uber drivers and enforce the city’s existing bylaws.

He said Hamilton should follow the lead of other Canadian cities, including Calgary, Mississauga, Brampton and Ottawa that have passed bylaws suspending the operations of ride-sharing companies, and have introduced higher fines and safety regulations for Uber operators to follow.

Edmonton approved a ride-hailing bylaw March 1, requiring drivers to carry insurance, and pass a police information check.

Jones acknowledged there are some taxi drivers who have become Uber drivers, and the taxi industry has seen a drop off. He said there are about 1,025 cabbies.

“All we are asking is a level playing field,” said Jones.

But Hamilton councillors said the city has been done exactly what the taxi industry has requested.   

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead agreed with the taxi industry.

“This is an attack on society, an attack on stability,” he said.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said in February council approved a motion calling for the creation of new licensing rules for both taxis and ride-hailing companies.  Council has also asked Uber to halt its service until new rules are introduced by the city.

“We did stand up for you,” said Merulla.

But he also put the blame on the provincial and federal governments for not doing enough to stop these sharing service industries. He said municipalities have limited powers to halt businesses.

“The province and federal governments could shut down Uber in a second,” he said.

Merulla said he backed away from introducing a motion seeking an injunction against Uber until the report is presented to politicians. He got the idea about an injunction from Calgary council.

Director of Licensing Ken Leendertse said a report on a “Hamilton-made” model will be introduced to politicians on April 20. He said staff used some ideas from Calgary and Ottawa. He said consultations will take place during the summer on the proposed bylaw.

Leendertse said the city has already laid 35 charges against 22 Uber drivers for violating the city’s bylaw. He said the fines if convicted are about $250.

Hamilton, taxi industry moving in same direction, say councillors

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s taxi drivers urged councillors to put the brakes on the Uber service operating in the city.

“We have an unlawful illegal business taking away business from lawful businesses,” said Steve Jones, an accessible taxi driver, representing the taxi industry before politicians at their April 6 governance issues committee meeting. “They don’t pay taxes.”

With over 50 cabbies in the council chambers cheering Jones on, he outlined the safety regulations and licenses taxi drivers have to pass while Uber drivers ignore any city requirements.

Jones said Hamilton needs to crack down on Uber drivers and enforce the city’s existing bylaws.

He said Hamilton should follow the lead of other Canadian cities, including Calgary, Mississauga, Brampton and Ottawa that have passed bylaws suspending the operations of ride-sharing companies, and have introduced higher fines and safety regulations for Uber operators to follow.

Edmonton approved a ride-hailing bylaw March 1, requiring drivers to carry insurance, and pass a police information check.

Jones acknowledged there are some taxi drivers who have become Uber drivers, and the taxi industry has seen a drop off. He said there are about 1,025 cabbies.

“All we are asking is a level playing field,” said Jones.

But Hamilton councillors said the city has been done exactly what the taxi industry has requested.   

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead agreed with the taxi industry.

“This is an attack on society, an attack on stability,” he said.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said in February council approved a motion calling for the creation of new licensing rules for both taxis and ride-hailing companies.  Council has also asked Uber to halt its service until new rules are introduced by the city.

“We did stand up for you,” said Merulla.

But he also put the blame on the provincial and federal governments for not doing enough to stop these sharing service industries. He said municipalities have limited powers to halt businesses.

“The province and federal governments could shut down Uber in a second,” he said.

Merulla said he backed away from introducing a motion seeking an injunction against Uber until the report is presented to politicians. He got the idea about an injunction from Calgary council.

Director of Licensing Ken Leendertse said a report on a “Hamilton-made” model will be introduced to politicians on April 20. He said staff used some ideas from Calgary and Ottawa. He said consultations will take place during the summer on the proposed bylaw.

Leendertse said the city has already laid 35 charges against 22 Uber drivers for violating the city’s bylaw. He said the fines if convicted are about $250.