Banning Uber app on city-owned phones on agenda as council resumes meeting
In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, May 6, 2015 7:25AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 6, 2015 1:11PM EDT
A motion to ban city employees from downloading the Uber app to their work phone and an Ombudsman report that raises serious questions about the conduct of city hall security during Rob Ford’s mayoral tenure are both on the agenda today as city council wraps up a two-day meeting.
The Uber motion tabled by Ward 39 Coun. Jim Karygiannis calls for the transportation service app to be removed from the approximately 12,000 city-owned phones and for council to request that city-run agencies and corporations do the same with the phones issued to its employees.
The motion also asks the city manager to communicate with all employees about the “risks associated with using unlicensed and uninsured bandit taxi services during working hours.”
“City employees with work-issued smartphones may be using Uber to go to city meetings. If those employees are physically harmed in an accident, those employees will hold the City of Toronto taxpayers liable because they were on work time when they were injured,” Karygiannis’s motion states. “We wouldn't want our own families riding in an unlicensed and uninsured taxi and we certainly don’t want our employees doing that either. This motion is the responsible thing for council to do.”
The motion to ban employees from downloading the Uber app to their work phones comes as the city awaits a May 19 court hearing where it is seeking an injunction that could halt the U.S.-based company’s Toronto operations altogether.
Meanwhile, as that legal showdown looms Uber is continuing to press the city to create ridesharing regulations that would allow its UberX service, in which pre-approved drivers use their personal vehicles to pick up fares, to continue operating.
As part of that push, Uber held a rally at Nathan Phillips Square on Wednesday afternoon that was attended by a few hundred people.
“There are no regulations right now that apply to ridesharing and UberX. We want to work with the city to create those regulations. We think it should be on the agenda and the hundreds that showed up today think it should be on the agenda too,” Uber Toronto GM Ian Black told CP24.
Ombudsman report to be discussed
In addition to Uber city council is also expected to discuss 65 other items today, including an ombudsman report that highlighted numerous instances where city hall security acted as Rob Ford’s private body guards and failed to maintain public safety.
The report, which was released last week, identifies a total of six incidents where the response by city hall security “fell short of expectations,” including one incident where a guard covered up a surveillance camera as the mayor made his way to his vehicle while intoxicated.
The report also states that security and senior managers did not adequately respond to the increased presence of reporters at city hall that was brought about by Ford’s well documented struggle with substance abuse and the ensuing media frenzy.
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