Hamilton cabbies step up campaign urging regulation of Uber drivers

News Apr 07, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Cabbies want Uber included in Hamilton taxi bylaw

Hamilton cabbies returned to city hall to again urge city councillors to make Uber abide by the same laws they have to.

Taxi industry representative Steve Jones asked Wednesday that the term "ride hailing service" be put into the municipal taxi bylaw to describe the industry as a whole and force Uber into the fold.

Jones, in an extensive presentation to the general issues committee — and backed by cabbies who filled more than half of the council chambers — said many Uber drivers in Hamilton are not from this city because they work from a computer app.

He said unlike Hamilton's 1,025 cabbies, Uber drivers operate illegally and are not subjected to the same safety checks, forced to carry at least $2 million insurance liability or have set meter rates "so no one can be ripped off."

He noted Hamilton taxi drivers pay fees and remit HST while "Uber pays absolutely no taxes or fees to any level of government."

While the operators of Hamilton's 447 taxis make their living and spend their earnings in the city, Uber drivers can be from anywhere and "contribute no viable support to the local economy," Jones said.

"Do you know how many came in from Toronto for the Garth Brooks concert?" he asked rhetorically. "Uber acts any way it chooses, with no regard to laws or levels of service provided."

Jones reviewed measures taken by other municipalities across Canada and asked Hamilton councillors for "a fair and level playing field" by putting the term "ride hailing service" into the bylaw definition of taxis.

Jones' pleas and demands, however, are not new to city hall.

Coun. Sam Merulla noted that council has on several occasions tried to address those same concerns, but said Uber has continued to ignore the city.

City staff is expected to bring forward a new recommended taxi bylaw, and if Uber doesn't comply with the resulting legislation, Merulla vowed to ask for an injunction to stop the service from operating in the city.

"They'll leave us no choice if they refuse to work with us," he said.

"We're limited as to what we can do," he told Jones. "I appreciate your frustration, because it is our frustration."

Merulla said it is very difficult for a municipality to control the Internet, which is how Uber operates, and added "that's why the federal government should shut it down."

Merulla also noted Uber drivers don't pay provincial and federal taxes and said it's time senior governments stepped up to the plate.

"The federal government could stop Uber at the drop of a pen."

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec

Hamilton cabbies step up campaign urging regulation of Uber drivers

News Apr 07, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Cabbies want Uber included in Hamilton taxi bylaw

Hamilton cabbies returned to city hall to again urge city councillors to make Uber abide by the same laws they have to.

Taxi industry representative Steve Jones asked Wednesday that the term "ride hailing service" be put into the municipal taxi bylaw to describe the industry as a whole and force Uber into the fold.

Jones, in an extensive presentation to the general issues committee — and backed by cabbies who filled more than half of the council chambers — said many Uber drivers in Hamilton are not from this city because they work from a computer app.

He said unlike Hamilton's 1,025 cabbies, Uber drivers operate illegally and are not subjected to the same safety checks, forced to carry at least $2 million insurance liability or have set meter rates "so no one can be ripped off."

He noted Hamilton taxi drivers pay fees and remit HST while "Uber pays absolutely no taxes or fees to any level of government."

While the operators of Hamilton's 447 taxis make their living and spend their earnings in the city, Uber drivers can be from anywhere and "contribute no viable support to the local economy," Jones said.

"Do you know how many came in from Toronto for the Garth Brooks concert?" he asked rhetorically. "Uber acts any way it chooses, with no regard to laws or levels of service provided."

Jones reviewed measures taken by other municipalities across Canada and asked Hamilton councillors for "a fair and level playing field" by putting the term "ride hailing service" into the bylaw definition of taxis.

Jones' pleas and demands, however, are not new to city hall.

Coun. Sam Merulla noted that council has on several occasions tried to address those same concerns, but said Uber has continued to ignore the city.

City staff is expected to bring forward a new recommended taxi bylaw, and if Uber doesn't comply with the resulting legislation, Merulla vowed to ask for an injunction to stop the service from operating in the city.

"They'll leave us no choice if they refuse to work with us," he said.

"We're limited as to what we can do," he told Jones. "I appreciate your frustration, because it is our frustration."

Merulla said it is very difficult for a municipality to control the Internet, which is how Uber operates, and added "that's why the federal government should shut it down."

Merulla also noted Uber drivers don't pay provincial and federal taxes and said it's time senior governments stepped up to the plate.

"The federal government could stop Uber at the drop of a pen."

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec

Hamilton cabbies step up campaign urging regulation of Uber drivers

News Apr 07, 2016 by Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton Spectator

Cabbies want Uber included in Hamilton taxi bylaw

Hamilton cabbies returned to city hall to again urge city councillors to make Uber abide by the same laws they have to.

Taxi industry representative Steve Jones asked Wednesday that the term "ride hailing service" be put into the municipal taxi bylaw to describe the industry as a whole and force Uber into the fold.

Jones, in an extensive presentation to the general issues committee — and backed by cabbies who filled more than half of the council chambers — said many Uber drivers in Hamilton are not from this city because they work from a computer app.

He said unlike Hamilton's 1,025 cabbies, Uber drivers operate illegally and are not subjected to the same safety checks, forced to carry at least $2 million insurance liability or have set meter rates "so no one can be ripped off."

He noted Hamilton taxi drivers pay fees and remit HST while "Uber pays absolutely no taxes or fees to any level of government."

While the operators of Hamilton's 447 taxis make their living and spend their earnings in the city, Uber drivers can be from anywhere and "contribute no viable support to the local economy," Jones said.

"Do you know how many came in from Toronto for the Garth Brooks concert?" he asked rhetorically. "Uber acts any way it chooses, with no regard to laws or levels of service provided."

Jones reviewed measures taken by other municipalities across Canada and asked Hamilton councillors for "a fair and level playing field" by putting the term "ride hailing service" into the bylaw definition of taxis.

Jones' pleas and demands, however, are not new to city hall.

Coun. Sam Merulla noted that council has on several occasions tried to address those same concerns, but said Uber has continued to ignore the city.

City staff is expected to bring forward a new recommended taxi bylaw, and if Uber doesn't comply with the resulting legislation, Merulla vowed to ask for an injunction to stop the service from operating in the city.

"They'll leave us no choice if they refuse to work with us," he said.

"We're limited as to what we can do," he told Jones. "I appreciate your frustration, because it is our frustration."

Merulla said it is very difficult for a municipality to control the Internet, which is how Uber operates, and added "that's why the federal government should shut it down."

Merulla also noted Uber drivers don't pay provincial and federal taxes and said it's time senior governments stepped up to the plate.

"The federal government could stop Uber at the drop of a pen."

cfragomeni@thespec.com

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec