Toronto councillor confronts UberX driver over bylaws
Jim Karygiannis warned ride-sharing motorist he was 'breaking the rules'
A Toronto city councillor confronted an UberX driver over the weekend and said he would do it again in his ongoing quest to get the ride-sharing service shut down.
But the passenger of the UberX ride characterized the councillors' behaviour as stalking and bullying, and intends to file a complaint against him.
Coun. Jim Karygiannis was meeting with constituents when an UberX driver pulled up and asked him if he summoned the car. Karygiannis said no, and the driver went down the street to find the passenger. Karygiannis followed the car to speak with the driver.
"I warned the UberX driver what he was doing was breaking the rules and left it at that," said Karygiannis.
The Scarborough councillor, an avowed opposer of the ride-sharing service, said he was performing "due diligence" by confronting the driver.
Lauren Reyes-Grange, the passenger in the UberX ride, was not pleased with Karygiannis's actions. She said she witnessed the Ward 39 councillor "stalk" and "bully" the driver. She said her driver, Hamed, was blocked in the driveway while Karygiannis "yelled" at him.
"This was absolutely inappropriate for an elected official and I feel horrible that Hamed or any Uber driver has to deal with such bullying tactics when they are simply trying to do their jobs," she wrote on Twitter.
"I hope that Uber is taking a stand on behalf of their drivers to protect them against these sanctimonious council members."
Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Health responded to the incident via email with the following statement:
"We were very surprised to hear about this unprompted verbal abuse against an Uber driver partner. We have been in contact with the driver and rider to offer assistance in any way we can."
Karygiannis denies he bullied anyone. He said he recognized Reyes-Grange's father, Hamlin Grange, as a constituent and a former member of the Toronto Police Services Board.
"I wouldn't advise my family to use an UberX," the councillor said.
Karygiannis took a photo of the UberX vehicle and forwarded it to Toronto's chief of police, Mark Saunders.
"Everyone has the right to file a complaint about an illegal taxi, but if they don't feel comfortable, they can email me with the licence plate number or a cell phone picture of the licence plate and I will report it on their behalf to bylaw enforcement and police," said the councillor.
The councillor is unapologetic about confronting the driver and said he will also continue his crusade against UberX drivers.
"Wouldn't you warn your neighbour if you see something that was not lawful?"