Ottawa

Hanif Patni, taxi company owner, wants Uber to improve safety

The owner of several of Ottawa's taxi companies says Uber should improve its safety by instituting vehicle markers and driver identification.

Uber drivers should have markers, IDs despite lacking regulations, taxi company owner says

Hanif Patni, owner of Coventry Connections, says he worries more about the safety of vehicles that provide taxi or ride-sharing services than the regulations. (Stu Mills/CBC)

The company that owns several of Ottawa's taxi companies and many others nationwide wants vehicles used for Uber to improve safety by making its vehicles and drivers more identifiable.

Coventry Connections owns Blue Line, Capital, DJ's and others in the nation's capital.

Its owner, Hanif Patni, has taken a stand against the ride-sharing company Uber, which provides competition for taxi services in Ottawa.

He says vehicles operating like taxis should be marked like taxis. He also wants Uber drivers to have licences to ensure the service is safe.

"There's nothing on the outside of the car," Patni said. "[Also the drivers need] visual ID, being able to see that person's face, that's my driver."

Ian Black, general manager of Uber in Ontario, visited Ottawa on Thursday. He agreed there should be regulations for all ride-sharing and taxi services.

Black said Uber is not illegal, but acknowledged there are issues with licensing as the City of Ottawa continues to lay charges against Uber drivers for bylaw violations.

Patni's concerns don't just rest with regulation, but instead his criticism is centred on safety because he said Uber vehicles don't need safety checks or commercial insurance, or a camera inside.

The city will consider all regulation and safety concerns during a comprehensive review of its taxi bylaw later in 2015.

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