Sep 16, 2015

By Jane Brown

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The next phase of the Taxi-Uber battle gets underway at Toronto City Hall this morning.

Members of the city’s licensing committee meet to discuss recommendations to regulate ride-sharing service Uber and legalize its private vehicle service UberX.

Vice-chair, Councillor Jim Karygiannis, who’s a staunch supporter of the taxi industry, says the proposals from city staff face a challenging future. He says “members are going to hear a lot of allegations and deputations that Uber is unregulated and doesn’t follow the law.” But Karygiannis refused to speculate on whether the committee might kill the report, which proposes a two tier system of regulation for taxis and private vehicles-for-hire.

On his way into work this morning, Mayor John Tory told CP24 the challenge is worth the effort.

“Our job is to bring Uber into regulation, bring it under the law which we’re doing, and to reduce the regulatory burden on taxis, which we’re doing, starting for example with bringing the fare down by a dollar when you get into a taxi. And I think this is going to be an attempt to bring some order to the marketplace and accept the fact that these technologies are not going away,” Tory explained.

If committee members vote to refer the report back to staff for more study, or defers a decision to a later date, the recommendations will not go to the September 30th city council meeting.

UberX uses a smartphone application to connect passengers to drivers who do not hold city issued taxi licenses.

Since it was launched a year ago, UberX now accounts for an estimated 17,000 trips a day in Toronto. A research poll done for the city found Uber is seen as a high tech, fast, accessible offering which provides greater affordability, control and availability of service than its alternatives.

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