September 15, 2017 4:15 pm

City of London charges three drivers offering rides on Kijiji

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Nissan
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The City of London’s top bylaw officer is issuing a “safety reminder” for Londoners after city officials charged a number of unlicensed drivers-for-hire.

A city review of the practice on social media platforms and websites like Kijiji revealed a “recent increase of vehicle-for-hire rides being offered.”

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Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer Orest Katolyk said three drivers were charged under the vehicle-for-hire rules last week alone after offering rides on Kijiji, an online classified ad service. Each infraction carries a fine of $1,000, though fines for repeat offenders can reach as high as $50,000.

Beyond the legal issues, Katolyk said there is a concern of public safety.

“Accepting a ride advertised on the internet means you know nothing about the driver and nothing about the car,” he said. “It is simply unsafe. There are many other options — taxis, limousines and licensed private vehicles. We hear too often about alleged sexual assaults in unlicensed vehicles. We want to avoid that in London.”

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In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Katolyk urged Londoners to use “only licensed vehicles operating through licensed brokers,” for transportation, urging people to look for window signage that legal vehicles-for-hire must have.

The didn’t mention Uber, the popular electronic ride-hailing app. But it was only in February that city councillors narrowly passed a bylaw allowing Uber to operate legally in London.

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