Cab driver files injunction to stop UberX in Toronto
The ride-hailing app Uber is shown on a smartphone in Montreal, Thursday, May 14, 2015. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, March 14, 2016 8:45AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 14, 2016 11:10PM EDT
A Toronto cab driver has filed an application for an injunction to prevent UberX drivers from operating in the city.
Sukhvir Singh Thethi has been behind the wheel of a Toronto taxi for more than two decades.
But, recently, he has had to work harder than ever just to pay the bills. And he says Uber is to blame.
“I used to drive six hours for six days and now I have to drive eight hours, six days a week just to make the same amount of money,” said Thethi, who now works part-time as a social worker.
“You cannot make a good living from driving a taxi. You can barely survive.”
The issue has been in the spotlight for several months, but Thethi has not taken matters into his own hands, saying that if he waits for City Hall to act, it could be months or even years.
The application for the injunction was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and is based on a City of Toronto Act, according to a statement issued by Thethi’s lawyer on Monday.
Taxpayers are permitted to bring applications to the court against anyone contravening Toronto's bylaws, the statement said.
"A similar process was followed in Calgary where the injunction was granted," the statement said.
The application argues that Toronto's bylaws state that only those who are licensed as taxicab drivers may operate cabs in Toronto.
"Under the recently amended bylaw, UberX drivers are considered taxicab drivers, but do not have the license required to legally operate a taxicab in Toronto as required by the bylaw," the statement said.
Bylaw 1047-2015 was updated in October.
"Why bother changing the law unless you are going to enforce it?" lawyer Jay Strosberg wrote in the statement.
Strosberg later spoke to CTV Toronto, where he explained that the injunction is meant to encourage regulations. He said the driver who filed the application works as a social worker, but drives a cab to supplement his income. The driver has been in the business for 14 years, and has had to increase his hours because of UberX in order to earn the same wage.
Speaking at a news conference Monday, Toronto Mayor John Tory said council had discussed filing an injunction, but voted by an "overwhelming majority" not to proceed.
"What we instead have been focusing our energies is something you’ll be seeing shortly. There will be in fact, a draft policy, that will be brought forward next month," he said.
UberX, Uber Canada's most popular service, has been operating in Toronto for a year. The service connects app users with people who own everyday vehicles who have signed up to be drivers.
The service has been able to get around the city's laws, claiming that UberX is a communication service, not a cab company. As a result, drivers working for UberX don't have to purchase taxi licences or complete the required taxi training program.