Taxi drivers want compensation for business impact from ride share companies

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Claiming losses as a result of Mississauga’s Transport Network Company (TNC) pilot project which allowed Uber and Lyft to operate on city roads, taxi drivers are now demanding compensation at the rate of $50,000 per licence for income loss.

“The city mandated endless regulations, set pricing, and limited supply of taxicabs, and allowed licences to be transferable for compensation thus creating market value,” taxi licence plate owner Sami Khairallah wrote in a letter to the city’s Public Vehicle Advisory Committee.

Mississauga launched its TNC pilot project on July 1, 2017 and while the pilot project was an opportunity to glean information and data that could eventually be used to regulate TNCs, it has had a very negative impact on the traditional taxi industry, say taxi drivers.

This has directly resulted in the devaluation of taxi licence plates.

According to reports, taxi licences were once worth around $200,000 today they sell for around $10,000.

As part of the city’s regulation on the taxi industry, a limited number of licence plates were owned by long-time taxi drivers and businesses. The limited number gave those plates a considerably high monetary value. Plate owners considered the plates a source of pension and retirement security as they were transferable – either back to the city or another owner – for significant compensation.

The idea behind this regulatory model was to ensure consumer safety and to ensure operators could have a decent standard of living.

All this has been turned on its head with the entry of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Taxi drivers insist that they’ve bypassed those regulations and taxi drivers who’ve played by the rules all these years are now at a distinct disadvantage.

The TNC pilot project was extended on Jan. 1, 2019 to an interim period not exceeding 12 months as city staff discovered that ride-sharing services were being used by a larger number of people than expected.

While there is general sympathy for taxi drivers whose business has suffered with the advent of ride sharing in many cities across the world, protecting their business and banning ridesharing in a digital age would be wrong.

It would be the same as the oil and gas industry opposing the electrification of the automobile industry or the automobile industry to take steps to prevent ridesharing and the development of mass public transit as it impacts jobs and the need for more cars. -CINEWS

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