Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Give Toronto Residents the Choice of Taxis, or Uber

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Give Toronto Residents the Choice of Taxis, or Uber

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Give Toronto residents the choice of taxis, or Uber

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published April 7:

Toronto residents will get more choice in hiring rides -- and safer ones -- under proposed regulations allowing Uber to operate in Canada's largest city. Cab drivers may complain, but the new rules make sense by putting the public interest ahead of industry rivalry.

City staff have just come up with a balanced and fair plan to let ride-booking companies such as Uber legally function while cutting red tape snarling traditional taxis.

Mayor John Tory welcomes this initiative, and rightly so. "Toronto has an opportunity to put the interests of its residents first," he said Thursday. "Today we have new regulations that create a level playing field, provide safe, convenient options to our residents and allow drivers to earn a competitive living."

We do indeed. But Tory's responsibility doesn't end with issuing that feel-good declaration. His real work starts now. The taxi industry has a block of loud supporters on city council. It's up to Tory build a winning coalition capable of overcoming opposition and securing passage of the new measures.

It won't be easy. He failed to get his way last fall on an earlier set of proposed reforms. But there's a clear public good at stake here, and assembling the votes necessary to serve that interest will be a major test of his abilities as mayor

As expected, the new rules were resoundingly booed by critics in the taxi business and city councillors dedicated to serving that industry's agenda. They prefer a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, heavy on maintaining the status quo in order to preserve cabbies' jobs and livelihoods.

But the world is moving on. People want choice and they're increasingly turning to Uber and other ride-booking services.

More than 15,000 UberX drivers in Toronto, operating unmarked private cars instead of taxis, deliver in excess of 45,000 trips each day. But they're doing so in a regulatory void. The city's initiative would change that by imposing new standards on "private transportation companies" while simplifying and reducing regulations governing the taxi industry. …

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