Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Taxi News questions for GTAA

What’s the rush? Why share only Taxi info, not rideshare?

As part of a lengthy conversation and interview with Taxi News regarding changes being made to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s changes to driver permitting conditions, the GTAA asked for clarification on two questions. The questions and some background on each question is posted below, as sent to GTAA Friday. Taxi News will run the replies when they are received.

Q1: Toronto and Ottawa both rushed to re-write rules for Uber in 2016; eight years later in 2024, Toronto has realized it opened a Pandora’s box with at least 10 times as many vehicles cruising the streets as it had in 2016, which is nuking its program to lower emissions. Toronto Council set a deadline to fix this of February 2024.

Ottawa has faced a $230 million lawsuit from Taxi drivers which took 7 years to get to trial and another year at trial. Final arguments were heard in January, and Justice Smith is now writing his decision, which could be dropped any minute of any day now.

Hence, my question: GTAA could have the benefit of taking the Toronto Council and Ottawa legal decisions into consideration before finalizing any deal with Taxi drivers and Uber. What is the rush to the seemingly-arbitrary April 8th rollout of changes, that the benefit of the April 8th implementation could be greater than the benefit of developing a deal knowing what Justice Smith writes about the Charter rights of Taxi drivers?

Q2: As discussed, I have been receiving and publishing exhaustive information on the GTAA’s proposed deal with Taxi and Limo drivers since before Christmas.

Although I have requested the same information for the proposed deal with Uber and Lyft by email and in verbal conversation, I have never received any information on the proposed deal with Uber and Lyft.

By definition, the proposed deal with Uber and Lyft is a “secret” deal. This leads skeptics to believe it is also a “sweetheart” deal. In light of the fact that Uber paid Toronto $16 million in 2023, surely it is fair to ask what Uber is paying GTAA for the right to pick up there.

The idea that GTAA expects Taxi drivers to agree to a negotiation in which their competitors know everything about their deal while they know nothing about their competitor’s deal flies in the face of a fair, impartial procurement process. The fact that GTAA has threatened, in writing, to cancel the permit of any Taxi or Limo driver who discusses their financial deal with anyone/anywhere/anytime/for any reason is outrageous and, I think, a violation of their Charter rights. See “Ottawa court case,” above.  

Hence, my question: When will GTAA release the document which details the Uber deal in the same detail the Taxi and Limo driver deal are detailed in the 46-page document they received, and any other information (ie, ride fees or lump sum payments) Uber is paying?