Toronto

New Toronto Uber, taxi rules unlikely to go ahead as proposed

New rules proposed to regulate Uber and to ease restrictions on taxis in the city, which were proposed Thursday, are not likely to go for a vote at city council in the form they’re in, say two city councillors.

'I can assure you it will not come out the other end in the form it's in,' says Coun. Janet Davis

Taxi drivers protest in front of city hall against the Uber ridesharing car service in Toronto December 9, 2015. City councillors say the new rules proposed Thursday will likely get 'a whole host of changes' before they are put to a vote at council. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

New rules proposed to regulate Uber and to ease restrictions on taxis in the city, which were proposed Thursday, are not likely to go for a vote at city council in the form they're in, say two city councillors.

Coun. Janet Davis and Coun. John Campbell spoke about the proposed rules to CBC's Matt Galloway on Metro Morning.

Davis has been a vocal critic of the proposals, saying Thursday that the city caved to the ride-sharing company.

"I can assure you it will not come out the other end in the form it's in because there are many councillors who have significant concerns about the deregulation, drive-to-the-bottom kind of approach that this wide-open market model will produce, and it's going to hurt taxi drivers and the public," she said.

Campbell was less critical, saying ultimately, the proposed rules are good for consumers, taxi drivers and Uber. But he agreed that it's unlikely the proposals will go to council unchanged.

"The licensing and standards committee will make a whole host of changes. Then, it will come to city council, and some councillors will move the staff recommendations that were presented yesterday and there will be a very long debate," he predicted.

Both councillors said the taxi industry should be somewhat protected. Campbell said the consumer benefits from having more choices due to high levels of competition in the market.

But Davis said this "package of deregulation" will eventually reduce choices for the consumer, because taxi drivers will be pushed off the road because they will no longer  be able to make a living driving a cab. She said this is a concern because of Uber's practice of 'surge pricing' — when there is high demand, the company increases prices for the consumer.

"If you are going to actually reduce choices in the city, which is what will happen, then more and more people will have to rely on Uber and those options might not be available to you eventually," she said.

Mayor John Tory put out a statement Thursday in support of the proposed regulations.

Council will vote on the proposed rules on May 3 and 4.

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