Taxi drivers protest Uber's arrival in Waterloo Region

Over 100 taxi drivers and supporters gathered at Waterloo Region's municipal headquarters on Frederick Street in Kitchener Wednesday to protest Uber's arrival in the region.
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      Over 100 taxi drivers and supporters gathered at Waterloo Region's municipal headquarters at  150 Frederick St. in Kitchener on Wednesday to protest Uber's arrival in the region. 

      The protest was organized by the Waterloo Region Taxi Alliance, an interest group representing taxi drivers in the region. 

      The alliance refused to do interviews, but in a Facebook post promoting the event the group advised people to "protect yourself and your family. Choose legal taxis licensed by Region of Waterloo."

      The organization says it is unfair that Uber can operate in the region unlicensed and unregulated while taxi drivers have to pay significant licensing fees and submit police background checks to the region. 

      "Now Uber is here and they are picking up customers without any rules and regulations," said Sultan Amir, a taxi driver at the rally.

      "I am a taxi driver and this is a taxi driver's desperation against Uber," Amir said. 

      Currently, the region is in the first stage of a public consultation process for a new taxi bylaw that would regulate ride sharing services like Uber.

      Under the proposed new bylaw auxiliary cab drivers, which includes certain limousine and Uber drivers, would be required to have a license to operate, as well as a functioning GPS and close circuit television system installed in their vehicle. 

      The new bylaw review is expected to last into 2016. 


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