Toronto police are getting serious about cracking down on UberX drivers in Toronto. Following a series of arrests earlier this month, 11 people have been formally charged with various violations of the Highway Traffic Act, including operating a taxi without the appropriate licence and driving without adequate insurance.
UberX allows any Canadian citizen or permanent resident over 21 years of age with a recent four-door vehicle, valid driving license and insurance policy to begin accepting fares. The controversial concept has come under fire from cities and taxi industry groups around the world. The City of Toronto launched legal action last November, citing "serious concerns" about the safety of UberX.
"Anyone driving as an UberX driver is doing so in violation of city bylaws at their own peril," Tracey Cook, Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, said at the time. It doesn't appear this month's action by police is related to the city's ongoing action.
Uber identifies itself as a technology company and says it doesn't have to comply with local regulations governing taxis. Drivers who qualify for the UberX program are covered by a $5 million company insurance policy, but are asked to check their own insurance will remain valid if they hit the road.
The arrests were all made on the weekend of March 7-9 in 12 Division in the northwest of the city.
All of the drivers are being represented by Gerald Chan, a partner in the famous Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan firm. (Clayton Ruby represented Paul Magder, the Toronto resident who brought the conflict of interest case against Rob Ford in 2012.)
The case is due to resume May 12.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
by Chris Bateman via blogTO