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Taxi trade group goes on the offensive against Uber

Posted by Staff / September 19, 2012

Uber TorontoNew, tech-friendly services like Hailo and Uber are quickly taking over our taxi and limo going experience but that doesn't mean those interested in keeping things the status quo are going to sit idly by and watch the industry transform before their eyes. Case in point is the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA - oddly based out of Rockville, Maryland) that's doing what it can to impress upon the public and government that these services aren't in the public's best interest.

Take a look at the embedded document below that TLPA is currently circulating to Toronto media.

What do you think? Does TLPA have a case? Should we be weary of these new services?



Mr. G / September 19, 2012 at 03:36 pm
Haters gonna hate..
Greg / September 19, 2012 at 03:42 pm
Uber is a technology company (not a taxi/car service company), and a very great one in fact. Its a natural reaction from existing companies in any industry to do what they can to create barriers for the competition. Thats all this is. Its a tactic powered by fear. And rightfully so, Uber is awesome. No wonder they're worried.
Josh / September 19, 2012 at 03:47 pm
The TLPA is the antithesis of innovation. They are afraid that Uber will steal all of their business (which they LEGALLY will) and will be forced to downsize. Uber is the best thing to happen to the transportation industry since the invention of the automobile. The TLPA stands no chance, Uber will prevail, like they always do. Uber is here to stay!
MarcKyr / September 19, 2012 at 03:53 pm
i LOVE Uber and will never get into a stinky broken ass taxi again they are in every single city i travel to, the drivers are courteuos and not on thier phones blabbing to who knows where for the whole ride and dont stink like the average taxi driver......
Philamania / September 19, 2012 at 03:57 pm
With change comes resistance. Resistance is futile.
Yvonne T. / September 19, 2012 at 04:08 pm
I've never used UBER before, but this is a classic case of the big guys bullying the small guys. I think that it's a great thing for consumers that we have more options. Leave it up to us to decide which companies succeed. This is what we call "Free Market Competition"
Nick / September 19, 2012 at 04:11 pm
That TPL briefer surprised me as stating one key thing they do is serve "unprofitable sectors", which seems very odd, as a quick perusal of a couple of Toronto taxi companies doesn't make any mention of not-for-profit rates for the poor, nor of a discount for wheelchair rates seem to be fixed by the City so the TLPA's argument about Uber skimming off the "lucrative" patrons with smartphones and credit cards seems a bit spurious.
Russell / September 19, 2012 at 04:14 pm
I use Uber every week and it is an amazing experience (both for black cars and taxi's). Uber is letting taxi drivers earn supplemental income that traditional dispatchers aren't able to provide. No organization should inhibit a drivers ability to earn extra money in a free market country like Canada - so long as the service is safe, which it is..
Warren / September 19, 2012 at 04:19 pm
The fact that they're suggesting a self-certified driver with Uber could place the passenger at risk says to me they don't spend any time riding in their own taxi cabs.
Steve / September 19, 2012 at 04:27 pm
Please print the uber passenger contract if you want a fair ansewer. They don't want to take responsibility but take a big fee

They are backed by Goldman Sachs , so who is the bully not following the rule of law
Steve replying to a comment from MarcKyr / September 19, 2012 at 04:30 pm
Don't you get it ? They aren't buying equipment so it is the same cab. You pay twenty percent more .
Free market Pinko / September 19, 2012 at 04:35 pm
I haven't used this yet, but I'm definitely open to it. Especially since you still have to ask any cab you get into in Toronto whether you can pay by credit card, and in a lot of cases, you can't.
Dave / September 19, 2012 at 04:57 pm
Why would anyone want things to stay the "status quo"? The taxi/limo industry in Toronto is such a sacred cow that nothing ought to disrupt it???

What kind of a city would we live in if every time a new business model / technology came into play and disrupted the status quo we let the government shut them down.

This fear mongering by big-taxi (I never thought I would say that in my life) is shameful, pitiful and hurts Canadian innovation as a whole. The time & money spent fighting innovative companies like Uber could easily have been directed elsewhere, like maybe developing & investing in their own tech???

I've used Uber on a number of occasions, and I know the service to be stellar. It isn't a rogue app, but a well-funded technology start-up that has so far been rather successful. If the accusations laid out in this ridiculous document were even remotely grounded in truth (and not fear of lost mrkt share) people would not use the service. I, for one, am encouraged to seek out and use Uber more often as a result of this document.

One last thing... remember the old adage about press never being a bad thing?? Does 'big taxi' really have their heads so far up their you-know-whats that they don't realize this coverage actually helps those who they are trying to kill? It's crazy. In the least, it's speaks to the need for disruption :)
Joey / September 19, 2012 at 05:01 pm
"Uber is the best thing to happen to the transportation industry since the invention of the automobile."

Wow, no hyperbole in this sentence! Nope, none at all. Not one little drop. Not even a little hint of it!
Mike / September 19, 2012 at 06:12 pm
UBER has changed the way I get around the city. It is a very convenient app that works much faster than calling a cab line and waiting for it to come. If you are not using it then you are missing out. If i was another company in this market i would be worried, they are taking over every major city in North America and good on them. They have a great product and it works. It is that simple.
ubernot / September 19, 2012 at 07:02 pm
Well, let's see Uber doesn't have a license to operate. they charge more than the regulated meter rate, have a cursory check of driver licensing, absolve themselves of all responsibility if something were to happen on the customer sign up. They use surge pricing and can charge whatever the heck they want google Uber pricing New York City on New Years Eve. Uber's model has been in your face and to hell with the regulations which were put in place to safeguard the riding public with licensed drivers, inspected vehicles and commeercial insurance which covers the passenger. But, Uber is only a tech company. Let's see how that works when your driver is unlicensed or the car is a rolling death trap. But my partner told me he was licensed and would never give a car to his brother in law. Heck, just take the phone and I'll drive my private car to pick up the passenger. Good Luck with that. Uber's is simply flaunting regulation and beware to their passengers.
TOJACK / September 19, 2012 at 07:08 pm
There is so much BS in this stream of comments it makes me want to puke. Where is the integrity? You know who you are...or, do you?
FuckTaxis / September 19, 2012 at 07:39 pm
So much BS. Uber is a great service. The taxi industry can shove it. Their drivers are the ones that are reckless, rude, unsafe, unprofessional and CREATE the need for services like Uber.

It's like owning a deli that makes disgusting sandwiches and being upset at a rival deli that makes good sandwiches. Make better sandwiches or STFU and concede to losing your market.
TOJACK / September 19, 2012 at 07:48 pm
No, BS from everyone including you. Planted comments. Fake testimonials. All of it. Total BS.
jdguy / September 19, 2012 at 08:57 pm
I still have a taxi account for clients with one of the mainstream companies however I will always take an Uber instead. I recently sent a group in a cab and I followed in an Uber 10 minutes later and ended up cheaper than the dirty cabbie who took a scenic route. I love Uber. Maybe cabbies should clean their cars, have a shower and provide personable service then maybe customers will come back.
TOJACK / September 19, 2012 at 09:22 pm
More BS.
Jenn / September 20, 2012 at 12:20 am
Sorry TOJACK but I've yet to take a cab in this city that wasn't driven by a reckless driver. They talk on cell phones, take round about routes as if I didn't know the city, and once I had to call the police and demand the driver let me out early because he was playing chicken with another car! Unbelievable...

The taxi companies in this city are horrendous. I lived in Ottawa for fifteen years and never once had a problem. My first cab ride here the driver tried to rip me off and claimed he didn't have change for a $20!

I've never used Uber, and so I can't comment on the service. However any competition that eliminates the shitty taxi service we have in Toronto is alright by me!

grasshopper / September 20, 2012 at 02:15 am
I don't know if we should be weary (tired) of a new service. We might want to be wary (cautious) of a new service.
TOJack / September 20, 2012 at 07:57 am
@Jenn. Cool. Nice to see an honest statement. I totally get your genuine frustration with taxis in Toronto. My experience hasn't been amazing by any stretch - but not quite as bad as yours.
sumo500 / September 20, 2012 at 09:30 am
I am a frequent UBER user and you are texted the driver's name and details prior to the car's arrival. This to me is far better than looking at a grimy taxi license with a blurry picture if you want to report/contact the taxi company with any issues in regards to the driver. I have left things in UBER cars twice and both times retrieving the goods was seamless due to the fact I had the drivers particulars. It also eliminates the need for a centralized dispatch where you are often placed on hold for long periods of time. Just like the food trucks vs restaurants battle its larger corporations banding together to bully out any competition.

There have been numerous occasions where I have had cab drivers who refused to accept credit card and driven me to ATMs, I love the fact that my UBER invoice is in
my inbox before I get back to my place.
I'm happy to say I havent hailed a cab ever since I became an UBER member.
scottd / September 20, 2012 at 09:31 am
Our cabs are crappy compared to other cities. Innovation is coming and it is a good thing.
Jer / September 20, 2012 at 10:59 am
How much more is it to take a UBER limo vs. a taxi? How does pricing work? No meter on Limos is there?
Alex / September 20, 2012 at 11:46 am
People are upset about not being able to pay by credit card in a cab? It's a CAB! What did you expect? It's bad enough people pay for pizza orders by credit card (that still astounds me when a takeout place asks if I'll be paying by cash or credit), but paying for a cab with one? The fees they have to pay for that will undoubtedly come out of their pocket, so you better give them a huge tip to cover it. Plus they would have to pull together enough money to buy a wireless credit card machine in the first place. Geez people, try having some personal responsibility and being prepared for stuff, instead of expecting the entire world to conform to you. If it's an emergency and you don't have any cash and you need a cab then I don't see what the big deal is with paying extra to get the cabbie to drop you off at an ATM along the way to get some cash.
Mikey / September 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It's hard enough to keep up with BlogTO (not to mention Toronto Life) through sneak peaks at tabs hidden inside folds of work-related tabs. Now I have to full-screen 3-page whitepapers from American lobby groups?! Do you know how many VPs, SVPs and EVPs walk behind my cubicle on their way to the kitchen?!

It's supposed to be light lunchtime reading!!
Athan / September 20, 2012 at 04:32 pm
Once again Über's staffers are posing as faithful Über clients and are making veiled racist comments about "dirty" cabbies. Facts. These "apps" are illegal taxi services. Regulations for taxis exist for good reason, for all the problems consumers have had with taxi services imagine how much worse they would be without regulation. Taxi companies want innovation. The technology Über waves around as innovative is actually old and has been used by many can companies for longer than the iPhone has existed. Über and others like it could have legally entered the market, I know for certain that the industry reached out to Über before they even launched. These "apps" are flooding the streets with gas guzzling sedans and SUV's that are undermining the move by taxi companies to hybrid and alt fuel vehicles that has been made in major cities across America. In the case of San Francisco, taxi companies are required to maintain $1 million dollar liability policy and to provide workers compensation insurance to their drivers. These illegal services are simply skirting the laws. They are no different than any other corporation that chooses to ignore the laws and policies applicable to them. Imagine if an oil company simply built a refinery wherever they chose and flipped a middle finger to the regulators. Would that be ok if it meant more gas at lower prices? Of course not. These corporate thugs need to follow the rules and the consumer needs to beware. Check out Über's limitation of liability, So much for accountability...
Alexandra replying to a comment from Alex / September 20, 2012 at 05:12 pm
The reason people use plastic is because it's convenient. You can earn points/rewards/cash back with no fee charged per transaction. Also, some people are on business and their company wants them to use their corporate plastic. I don't see the issue. My bank charges me $6.95/month for 10 transactions from my chequing account; this includes deposits. Outside of that, they're $1 each. Yes, my bank sucks. I need to pay bills, get cash out for tokens/coffee money. I don't always have cash on me in large denominations and a debit transaction will cost me $1. Merchants take credit because it means making money. Don't say you'll offer a service if you won't provide it. A 2-3% transaction fee is the cost of doing business.
awshaddap / September 20, 2012 at 05:16 pm
what's funny is all these negative comments about cabs are being waved off as being UBER plants or "racist"...when the reality is CABBIES IN TORONTO SUCK.

This is coming from someone who lives and works downtown (nightclubs) and use(d) them WAY too often. Both personally and professionally when we try to get ppl home safely at night.

I wish UBER was around when cabbies were trying to fight doormen, blocking streets as if it's their right or REFUSING fares in the middle of blizzards...and doing it with impunity.

fuck cabs. I've gone back to the TTC (that's saying something!!!) and UBER when I need to get somewhere fast.
Athan replying to a comment from awshaddap / September 20, 2012 at 07:43 pm
Uber's drivers aren't picking and choosing fares? Über doesn't gouge people when it's busy? That's their whole business model. They provide no service to the poor, the elderly, the disabled, or the families from the grocery stores. Maybe cab service is lacking but that needs to be addressed appropriately. Deregulation doesn't fix those problems and Über is just a deregulated taxi service. Über will let you down, I promise you that.
Chino / September 21, 2012 at 07:15 am
I find this similar to the restaurant vs food truck argument.

Sure people buying food from a food truck are paying a premium for for a sandwich, taco, etc, but it's people that have the means and are willing to pay that enjoy the service.

Uber simply isnt for everyone, in the same way that the $50 bottle of wine doesnt cater to your $2 can of beer target.

It seems like the people posting positive comments about the service are okay with paying a little more for an easy transaction, and being able to track a car's location. We all pay a little extra for the things we really like, so why the hate?

The fact that the TLPA thinks their drivers are all that great makes me wonder if they've ever sat in a Toronto cab before. Sure there are some awesome drivers that are courteous, knowledgeable, and fair. But it's the ones that are not that you remember the most, holding on to dear life, having to provide directions to well known intersections, asking to take detours instead of driving straight into traffic, arguing for fare gauging, and yes...even at times having to open a window to deal with the odour (when you sit in a car for 12 hours it will get a little tough).

So if you dont like the service, dont use it.

And no I dont work for Uber. I just have the disadvantage of having common sense.
Simonsays / September 21, 2012 at 07:40 am
As a satisfied uber user I believe the funders of this taxi trade group need to take a look in the mirror and not try to lean on regulators to bail them out from improving their business model. In terms of drivers, from my small sample size I believe that drivers on the uber system are more consistently reliable, nicer, and actually respecting of the customer - I bet this has something to do with the rating system.

My recommendation is people give uber a shot and form your own view. It isn't for everyone but I do think they have revolutionized parts of this business. Since everyone on this board gets blamed for working for uber, this is really going to look suspicious, but if you want to try uber use the link below as they have a referral system and we both get $10 in free credits if you use it:

OG / September 21, 2012 at 10:23 am
As with every blog post that mentions Uber, this thread has the foul smell of astroturf all over it.

ossylady / September 21, 2012 at 03:36 pm
if you have ever been outside the ACC after a big event and tried to get in a cab, you would know how greedy and despicable our taxi service is. imagine how tourists feel? fighting the crowd to get in a cab only to find out that if you're not going to milton they don't want you. oh and they intend to sit on bay street causing traffic chaos until a "worthy fare" comes their way. charging $4 just to sit it in those filthy sh!tcans, they should have seen this coming.
Jeremy / September 21, 2012 at 03:40 pm
Can someone explain why it is that uber somehow always seems to provide cleaner, more honest drivers? (that is if all these posts aren't shills) I can understand a technology company making it more convenient to find a cab using a smart phone, but I don't understand how this enables them to provide better service once the user is in the vehicle.

Personally, I rarely take cabs and have never used uber.
Igor / September 24, 2012 at 08:11 am
Jeremy, Uber doesn't always provide clearner, more honest drivers but I think more often than not they are because Uber screens the drivers and customers give a star rating post ride. Drivers seem to really care about the star rating so I assume they either get a bonus / penalty under certain circumstances.

I see Uber is offering free cabs Monday - Wednesday of this week under $20. No strings attached. Link below.
Homer Ward / September 25, 2012 at 10:01 am
Like it or not, Uber is the way forward. Took a few free cab rides already this week and spoke with each driver who unanimously said they were nothing but happy with the service. The cab companies have been screwing them for so long, it is about time technology came to their rescue.

I also used the promocode: UBERTDOT for a free $10 in rides after the free promo is done!
Dave / September 26, 2012 at 09:47 am
I like the idea of an app to hail a taxi. I think Beck is doing something similiar now.

That said, I don't get Uber. I don't understand the point of paying more just to sit in the back of a Lincoln Town Car.
Geronimo / September 26, 2012 at 04:14 pm
Free cab deal extended to Friday! Seems like people are enjoying the service.

Matt / September 3, 2013 at 01:47 pm
It's funny how all the common come in the roll within 7 minute a part you trying to tell me that's so common come from real people who don't work for uber I don't think so plus most off uber driver are x cab driver or some are people with criminal record that's the cant drive a cab and let's not forget that's uber doesn't take any responsibility for any of driver and they don't screen them so how can you got in a car and you don't know if its safe or not plus there's a bigger project with google for self driving car with no driver so way life is going will let software to take over our life and on day all of us will b out of job cab driver first and your job next
Goober / September 3, 2013 at 02:46 pm
In my experience Uber has so far been effcicient, clean and safe. That is more that I can say for most cab rides I have taken in this city. It does cost more, but I am willing to pay a premium for a clean, safe, efficient ride. As to those who decry the small print that presumes to absolve Uber from legal recourse: a consumer contract of adhesion does not a waiver necessarily make. Courts in Ontario and Canada generally are alive to and scrutinize standard form contracts carefully. A party can only be bound to a standard form contract when it is reasonable to believe that they meaningfully consented to the terms, there was not gross inequality of bargaining power and the clause at issue is not unsconscionable or void for public policy.
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