Toronto taxi drivers stage protest against Uber as court hearing begins

A Toronto taxi ride will cost $1 less starting Nov. 1.
A Toronto taxi ride will cost $1 less starting Nov. 1. Louie Palu / The Globe and Mail via The Canadian Press

TORONTO – About 500 cab drivers staged a protest outside of Toronto City Hall against Uber Monday morning.

The demonstration coincides with the beginning of a three-day court hearing into the city’s request for a permanent injunction to block Uber’s operations in Toronto.

Critics have been particularly vocal about the company’s UberX service, which allows unlicensed drivers to offer rides in their own vehicles.

READ MORE: Uber has no plans to give up on Canada

Such trips are not eligible under the insurance plans that cover licensed taxi rides, and opponents describe this as only one among many safety risks associated with the practice.

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.

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“We support the City in taking this unlicensed company to court and applying for an injunction” said Sajid Mughal, President of iTaxi Workers Association in a media release.

“Private gain should not outweigh public safety.”

While the company maintains a presence in Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax, it was forced to shut up shop after brief sojourns in Vancouver and Calgary.

READ MORE: PR campaign puts Uber under attack on multiple fronts

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.

With a file from The Canadian Press