Toronto attempting to shut down Uber service within city limits

WATCH ABOVE: Cindy Pom explains why Toronto wants to shut down Uber. 

TORONTO – The city wants to drive Uber out of Toronto.

The city filed a notice of application with the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario Tuesday seeking a court injunction against Uber Canada Incorporated.

“The application includes a request all Uber operations in Toronto cease,” Tracey Cook, the city’s executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, said at a press conference Tuesday.

“Uber has been operating since 2012 without a proper taxi brokerage license or a limousine brokerage license and since September of 2014 have been recruiting unlicensed drivers with unlicensed vehicles to provide taxi services.”

Cook said Uber has been operating illegally in Toronto, without a $300 taxi brokerage license, since September, 2012. As a result, she said, the company faces 36 bylaw infractions.

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She said the company’s unregulated status puts people in harm’s way due to unregulated fares resulting in alleged price gouging, inadequate insurance, increased safety risk to the drivers due to lack of training. She admitted however that there have been no complaints of injury as a result of an Uber ride.

In an email statement, Uber said the company is disappointed “bureaucrats have deployed expensive legal tactics to attempt to halt progress, limit consumer choice and force a broken transportation model on the public.”

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Cook would not say whether the city would let Uber stay in Toronto if it obtained a licence. Uber hasn’t said Monday why it doesn’t have one.

Uber has said in the past it is not a taxi company but instead a technology company which connects drivers to customers.

“It is the city’s position that this activity is a taxicab service and they are being operated without the lawful authority to do so,” Cook said.

Uber customers use a mobile app to request a ride, set a pick up and drop off location, and get a cost estimate before confirming the request.

Both the driver and the customer can see the other’s profile and can confirm or reject the ride. The ride is paid for ahead of time and, using the Uber X service, can be cheaper than hailing a cab in downtown Toronto.

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Mayor-elect John Tory said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon that Uber, and services like it, are “here to stay.”

“It is time our regulatory system got in line with evolving consumer demands in the 21st century. As Mayor, I intend to see that it does, while being fair to all parties, respecting the law and public safety,” the statement read.

Some cab companies have complained about Uber, arguing the company can offer lower prices and take in higher profits by escaping licensing fees and higher insurance rates.

Uber has also been criticized recently for surge pricing which can cause the price of a ride to skyrocket during times of high demand.

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Toronto is not the first Canadian city to try and ban the service. Calgary banned Uber in August and Vancouver is studying whether to follow suit.

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