Friday, June 21, 2024
Photo: Toronto Pearson Airport
Opinion/ColumnTaxi industry news

World peace simpler to achieve than GTAA driver agreement?

Maybe Carlson and Putin could negotiate an airport agreement

RWN/Taxi News publisher Rita Smith

Update: On February 12th, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority has forwarded a response and request for corrections to the section of this this column which is comprised of quotes from the letter sent to Members of Parliament. You can read the full GTAA letter here.

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Last night, I watched as history was made: independent journalist Tucker Carlson interviewed Russian president Vladimir Putin for two hours. They discussed historical reasons for the war in Ukraine, America’s position on the world stage, and a possible prisoner exchange.

This morning, I set out to read the newly modernized Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s Conditions of Permit for Taxicabs and Limousines and Conditions of Licence for AMTVs (“Conditions”) including Vehicle Specifications and recently amended Demerit Point System (“DPS”) which will come in effect April 8th, 2024, and replaces the current Conditions, Vehicle Specifications and DPS. 

For a moment there, I actually wondered if it might be simpler to achieve World Peace than to sort out pick-ups at the airport.

The new Conditions for Permit for Taxis and Limos at the airport are 46 pages long, and describe requirements in such detail it makes you wonder how any human being in history ever got from Point A to Point B on a map without the assistance of a team of bureaucrats. I am still scratching my head over this one:

“In connection with its operation pursuant to these Conditions, every ATP Holder shall not describe (whether in writing, orally, or electronically) nor permit to be described, to any Person the amount of the GTAA approved Taxicab fare in a way that indicates to such Person that the fare, or any part thereof, is based upon, required, or designed to compensate for any of the fees charged by the GTAA in accordance with the provisions of these Conditions…”

I thought the fact that drivers pay pick-up fees to the GTAA is now, and forever has been, the foundation of this professional relationship. Suddenly, it’s a secret?

On February 1st, airport driver Vazken Kerametlian wrote a number of federal cabinet ministers on behalf of “Senior citizens, requesting help from the Federal Government to protect the taxi permit and pension income compensation.

“GTAA is allowing Uber/Lyft to advertise inside the luggage pickup area of the terminals offering discounted service to travelers, Uber and Lyft operate without any restriction at Pearson airport, (Editor’s note: see GTAA corrections here) Uber /Lyft are discounting our taxi tariff, and creating unacceptable long waiting time for the MOT taxi operator to get customers, we are practically serving mostly leftover customers, as if you are scavengers,” Kerametlian wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as Transport minister Pablo Rodriguez and MPs James Maloney, Francisco Sorbara and Richie Valdez.

“You are the Government trying to help the vulnerable senior citizens. We need your help and the protection of our government very badly, it would be the right thing to do, to see our government to implement 2 additional points in the condition of the permit:

1.          “GTAA shall protect the Value of the MOT Permit” – Have GTAA respect and preserve the historic and traditional market Value of our MOT Permit. Please consider the fate of senior citizens who have spent a lifetime driving a taxicab and want to retire, GTAA may manage the rental income of the permit, and charge an administrative fee to the owner. (This will also generate more income for GTAA)

2.          Stipulate in the condition of the revised permit and state clearly ””The original MOT Permit is the Property of the Permit Owner’ Upon termination of the Permit. GTAA will compensate the value of the permit back to the permit owner, or help sell the MOT PERMIT.”

I grew up in a Canada that seemed to care whether senior citizens spent their retirement years in at least some degree of comfort and safety. Now, Canada offers MAiD to those who can’t afford to live without working. I would like to hope that the GTAA cares at least as much about the ground transportation professionals who have dedicated half a century to its success as it does about the Uber drivers breezing through the compound.

Sadly, I don’t think that is true. And now, it’s illegal even to talk about it.