Toronto cab drivers block an UberX driver from accepting a passenger and threaten to take his GPS device in a video shared online.
The video, shared by Justin Burrows, an UberX driver himself, shows the altercation which took place near the Fairmont Royal York hotel on Front Street West last week. Burrows says it's video evidence of the growing hostilities between traditional cab drivers and those who drive for Uber, a battle that's being fought at city hall and in the streets.
Burrows said altercations like the one filmed "happen all the time," and said while Uber drivers don't want to complain, "this is something that the public needs to know about and the city needs to know about."
In the video, the UberX driver is picking up a passenger when a cab driver approaches to stop the ride.
"You cannot take them, go away," the cab driver says.
The Uber driver informs his customer, who can be heard off camera asking about what's happening, that he'll have to cancel the ride. The customer eventually leaves, saying he plans to walk around the corner and order another Uber from there.
Then, as the cab driver continues to block the car, another man, also believed to be a cab driver, tells the Uber driver: "Give me the GPS and you can leave."
When the Uber driver declines and threatens to call the police, the cab drivers encourage him to do so.
"That's what I want you to do. Call the cops. Please. Please call the cops. Otherwise, give me the GPS."
The video ends with the driver calling police, though it's unclear how the situation is resolved as the video ends on a slide saying the UberX driver was forced to leave the area by a local business owner.
Cabbie's actions unwarranted but understandable: councillor
Scarborough-Agincourt Coun. Jim Karygiannis, a vocal critic of Uber, says the service continues to operate in an unlicensed, unregulated, unlawful method and that while he doesn't support what the cabbies did, their actions are "understandable."
They have nothing, and they make money more than us now - Amrul Ahasan, cab driver
"I have said that I will not support civil strife. That is unwarranted," Karygiannis said.
"My greatest fear is that this might get out of hand a bit. And I hope and I pray that it doesn't."
Karygiannis said he's asked cab drivers to photograph the license plates of Uber drivers, which he has been forwarding to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. He's hoping Toronto police will crack down further on UberX drivers. Last weekend, bylaw enforcement officers ticketed at least 98 UberX drivers, citing them for close to 200 offences.
He also called on Uber to stop its operations until the city finds a way to put rules around its service.
Cabbie Amrul Ahasan says for drivers like him, who have commercial insurance and a taxi license, it's frustrating to watch Uber drivers soak up their potential fares. "They have nothing, and they make money more than us now," he said.
Ahasan says Uber has cost him 60 per cent of his business, and now he's having a hard time paying his bills. He said the city needs to decide quickly: taxies or Uber, "not both."