Thursday, June 20, 2024
Holocaust educator Andy Reti will be part of the largest motorcycle parade in Toronto's history on June 7th, with riders from as far away as Israel and Australia. Photo: Andy Reti
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Holocaust survivor can’t endure Toronto bullshit

Taxi consultation “Just more of the same bullshit, an exercise in futility”

When a Jew who survived Hitler’s Holocaust gives up on Toronto, the situation has got to be dire.

RWN/Taxi News publisher Rita Smith

Andy Reti has been an active member of Toronto’s Taxi industry for decades, and everyone knows him as a positive force: jovial, quick-witted, a diligent worker and devoted family man. Impressed by the City’s commitment to Taxi owners and operators in decades past, he invested in a Taxi plate early in his driving career and encouraged others to do the same.

That was then: before John Tory, before Uber, before the city which had promised thousands of drivers that “Your plate will be your pension” decided that actually, these guys didn’t need a pension.

When Toronto opted to ignore the pleadings of life-time operators like Andy and allowed open entry to the ground transportation market with the arrival of Uber and other rideshare companies, it crushed whole families. Financially, emotionally, and spiritually, thousands of hard-working drivers saw their life’s work and their net worth evaporate in front of their eyes.

Andy Reti hasn’t written off everything that matters. At 82 years of age, he is extremely active in Holocaust education and spends countless hours visiting Ontario schools to speak to students and tell them what the Holocaust was, and why it is so important to prevent one from happening again.

In 2022, Andy visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. On the way there, he shared personal readings, which included a chapter from his mother’s book about family and friends who were murdered in the Holocaust, including at Auschwitz.
Photo: Facebook

On June 7th, he will join a pack of almost 200 motorcyclists on the 19th Annual “Ride to Remember.” The R2R will welcome Jewish motorcyclists from around the world to raise money in support of Holocaust education (this year’s recipient is the new Toronto Holocaust Museum). These funds will permit children to visit and converse with Survivors to learn what it was like.

“Holocaust education is one of the most essential tools in combating hate,” Reti explains. “The Toronto Holocaust Museum can help expand access for people who may not otherwise have the chance to learn about this dark chapter in our history.”

This man – this Holocaust survivor, this Toronto-booster and indefatigable optimist – will not be taking part in Toronto’s upcoming Vehicle for Hire consultation.

In his own words,

“For me and MOST of us, this is just more of the same bullshit. An exercise in futility. The hours and energy I put into pleading and advocating for our industry for the last 40 years came to NOTHING.

They robbed us of our pension, they made us into beggars, why would I go and waste my time again?

Why and how do you think this will be any different?

Their mind is ALREADY made up. This is just to show that they are complying with the mandate of ‘consultation.’

NO!!!! I had enough already!!!!”

Of course, Andy’s is just one opinion. There may be other opinions. Unfortunately, all of the other opinions I have heard so far from the Toronto Taxi industry align very closely with Andy’s: “It’s all bullshit; it’s just window dressing; staff have already decided what they want, and now they need to hold meetings so they can say they consulted.”

Ironically, the very people I would generally count on to provide a more optimistic industry view are scrambling to provide extra service during a possible TTC strike. They are much too busy even to think about the consultations, which Toronto staff have made crystal clear are going ahead with or without them, TTC strike be damned.

Meanwhile, 100 per cent of Toronto’s Accessible Taxi fleet will be off the road in 6 months.

The situation is dire.