UberX drivers hit with almost 200 bylaw infractions

At least 98 UberX drivers have been hit with close to 200 offences issued by Toronto bylaw enforcement officers since Friday, city officials confirm.
Toronto city bylaw enforcement officers appear to be cracking down on Uber, but the company says the city should instead be looking to update its taxi licensing rules. (CBC)

At least 98 UberX drivers have been hit with close to 200 offences issued by Toronto bylaw enforcement officers since Friday, city officials confirm.

​​About a dozen drivers were in court yesterday, charged with picking up passengers for a fee without the proper licence.

The city has been cracking down on Uber drivers since Toronto councillors voted last month to increase enforcement against the ride-sharing service.

At the time, city council also agreed to review the city's rules governing taxis and limousines with an aim to create a bylaw to cover both official taxis and Uber cars.

A court recently dismissed a city application for an injunction against Uber, saying the city failed to show that the ride-sharing service violated any bylaws.

Uber Canada says there are 13,000 drivers working for the service in the city.

UberX, one of three services the company offers, matches passengers with private vehicles through a smartphone app. UberX drivers use their own cars to drive passengers and aren't affiliated with taxi companies. Uber has raised the ire of traditional taxi drivers, who say they have to meet licensing rules that so far don't apply to Uber. 

The app allows users to order rides and see the driver coming by following on a real-time map in the app that uses the smartphone's GPS to determine the rider's location and find the nearest available driver. It then lets the user pay through their smartphone, meaning no physical money or credit card information changes hands in the vehicle. 

Bylaws need updating, company says

Company spokesperson Susie Heath sent a statement to CBC News, saying that Uber is a "legitimate model operating legally."

"Rather than taking enforcement action, we believe the right path forward is to develop common sense regulations and look forward to continuing our work with Mayor Tory and Toronto city council to establish a permanent regulatory framework for ridesharing in Toronto," the statement reads.

Uber's statement also says Uber "will support our driver partners fully."

Mayor John Tory has repeatedly called for a "fair and level playing field," when it comes to the taxi business and has said Uber should be included in whatever new laws the city comes up with.

City staff is expected to provide council with new regulatory options in September.


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