TORONTO – A taxi association is calling off another mass anti-Uber protest initially planned to create traffic chaos in the city during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Taxi groups vowed earlier Wednesday morning that some 8,000 drivers would participate in a traffic-paralyzing protest starting just before rush hour Friday, but later backpedaled on the promise by saying the group had productive discussions with city councillors and Toronto police.
“The public is our bread and butter. The public didn’t want this disruption and we listened,” said Sajid Mughal of the iTaxiworkers association.
Protest organizers earlier in the week threatened to have drivers assemble Friday afternoon in the heart of the downtown core — near the Gardiner Expressway, Bay Street and Lake Shore Boulevard — similar to a December protest that created traffic chaos throughout the city.
The December protest morphed into an ugly and occasionally violent affair as drivers protested the lack of city bylaw enforcement on ride-hailing services like Uber.
However, Sam Moini with the United Taxiworkers Association cautioned the dispute is far from over and that future protests are still a possibility.
The taxi industry says Uber and its ride-hailing app UberX continues to operate illegally in Toronto while its drivers are at a disadvantage.
On Monday, Tory said the protest would do nothing to accelerate the forthcoming municipal regulation of the ride-sharing service and that drivers could face police enforcement to keep roads clear.
Calls from cabbies and their supporters for an injunction application against Uber were sidetracked last week when city council voted to delay any legal action.
Toronto lost an attempt to ban UberX last year after a Superior Court judge ruled the transportation startup was operating within city bylaws.
On Wednesday, the Toronto Taxi Alliance announced it is seeking a separate injunction against Uber.
VIDEO: Taxi protest during All Star weekend won’t help Uber regulations to move quicker: Tory
With a file from Mark McAllister and Will Campbell
© 2016 Shaw Media