Cab drivers demanding action on Uber regulations

Protesters blocked Queen and Bay streets  outside city hall to encourage discussion about Uber regulations. (Photo: Nick Westoll) Protesters blocked Queen and Bay streets outside city hall to encourage discussion about Uber regulations. (Photo: Nick Westoll)

Serge Halytsky
Senior Reporter

Taxi drivers erupted in protest against UberX throughout Toronto Wednesday, freezing traffic in the downtown core.

The protestors were joined by Councillors Jim Karygiannis and Giorgio Mamolitti, city hall’s staunchest advocates of the cabbie cause.

Representatives of the taxi industry were promised a meeting with police Chief Mark Saunders as a result of the disruption.

A tweet from the protests showing a cabbie being dragged through a busy intersection while trying to confront a driver he thought was working for Uber went viral.

The cabbie, Suntharesan Kanagasabi, told the CBC that he worked for Uber as recently as last week.

ITaxi Workers Association said the group of protesters was attempting to contact the driver and to speak with him, and that the accident “illustrates the frustration of our drivers.”

Uber was alarmed “to see this act of taxi aggression against Toronto Uber drivers, rather than blocking roads and causing fear and frustration,” Uber said in a statement.

The company thinks that open collaboration is the best way forward.

Several dramatic incidents were captured on video that day. Toronto Mayor John Tory called for the end of these kinds of “dangerous and destructive activities.”

UberX is the paid service that came to Toronto little more than a year ago. They offer ride share service on lower than the taxi cost.

Uber customers are using a cellphone app to book the ride. Some cab drivers claim they’ve lost half of their income due to that, but most estimates of Uber impact don’t see it being that big, Huffington Post Canada reports.

“I am specifically requesting cab drivers stand down,” Tory said.

-With files from Jeremy Appel

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