Toronto taxis might be illegally refusing metered rides outside concert venues
After Anthony Lukan saw a show with friends at Budweiser Stage Saturday night, he says he attempted to flag down a taxi on Lake Shore Boulevard. What he alleges happened next is troubling.
Lukan said a cab then pulled over and asked where he was going, to which he answered that he was headed to the Yonge and College area.
He said the driver responded saying “That will be $40,” but Lukan requested to pay by meter instead.
The taxi driver then said he was waiting for someone else and drove off, Lukan said.
He added that he and his friends hailed another cab, and the exact same thing happened again.
Toronto taxi driver tried to “turn the meter off” and charge me 20$ for a 9.5$ ride last night. #YoLeaveThatShitOn— Tam (@tamxfe) July 25, 2018
Lukan said he and his friends even split up to hail different cabs in hopes of finding one that would agree to a metered ride, but each of them was offered a $40 flat rate or nothing.
In one night, he said this happened with five Beck taxis and two other cars from different companies.
After many tries, he said he was finally able to find a taxi that agreed to charge by meter and the final fare was $25 — $15 less than the repeatedly offered flat rate.
"This has been happening in Toronto for a very long time, and it is illegal and unacceptable," Lukan said.
"I have been going to concerts for 10 years in this city and can tell you that this is the case outside all the large venues, especially at Rebel Nightclub."
He said it always costs him about $15 to get where he's going in a taxi but when he tries to get home, drivers refuse to use the meter and insist on a flat rate of $40.
He added they use the “I’m waiting for someone else” excuse to avoid the legal issue of declining someone a ride home.
"This is also the reason that Uber and Lyft are taking over the city," Lukan suggests.
I’m not an @Uber advocate by any means, but after dodgy Toronto service by Becks taxi (no meter running & demanding cash) you can see how the app based service can feel like the more professional option.— Bryn Davidson @Lanefab (@Lanefab) October 10, 2017
This is something Toronto residents have complained about for years, and so far no solution has been introduced.
In addition to refusing to charge by meter, there have also been many reported instances of drivers refusing rides because they're too short.
Lukan said he tried to take a photo of one of the cars that refused to give him a ride Saturday, but the driver sped away when he saw him trying to take the picture.
When he emailed Beck Taxi to complain, he said they told him they're unable to do anything without a photo of a specific car and encouraged him to contact someone from the city.
When reached for comment, Beck Operations Manager Kristine Hubbard said the company has a zero-tolerance policy for fare refusals and emphasized it's against the law for drivers to refuse a ride.
"The rule is first-come, first-serve and drivers are required to charge the city-regulated meter rate," Hubbard said.
"If any Beck-branded vehicle or driver is involved we want to be notified as soon as possible with the cab number that can be found on both front doors, on the back bumper of the car, or inside each vehicle on the tariff card."
She added there is an option to email the company on their app, and drivers and/or cars will be removed from the Beck fleet upon confirmation.
"It saddens me that in this city there are people not able to get home safely because they won’t pay a flat rate or because their trip is too short," Lukan said.
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