Taxi group says protest will go ahead during NBA All-Star weekend
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Sunday, February 7, 2016 10:28PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 8, 2016 12:20AM EST
A group attempting to unite GTA taxi drivers says some sort of disruptive action to protest Uber will “definitely” take place in Toronto next weekend as the city hosts the NBA all-star Game.
The United Taxi Workers Association says it expects the protest will include disruptions on the Gardiner Expressway and could involve thousands of vehicles.
“Definitely there will be job action,” spokesperson Paul Sukhan told CP24 Sunday evening. “We will be doing anything it takes to save our lives and our family and we will be taking some action as of February 12 – correct.”
The group met Sunday evening at the Woodbine Banquet Hall and Convention Centre to try and unify cab drivers from the GTA and the Niagara Falls area and to hammer out next steps to make their voices heard.
“It will be a series of different job actions starting from the roads and then ending up downtown eventually,” Sukhan said.
The protest could cause major interruptions next weekend, with both the Canadian International Auto Show and the NBA All-Star Game taking place downtown.
A similar protest in December caused gridlock on major roads around the city and drew the ire of customers and the public.
“This time it will be more vehicles than last time,” Sukhan said. “It’s going to be vehicles, people, our families – we’re going to bring our wives, our kids everybody because we have nothing left to lose and there’s no sympathy from city officials, including the mayor.”
Taxi drivers in the city have been fighting a lengthy and heated battle with the city to try and have ride-sharing service Uber shut down for operating in violation of city bylaws and for competing unfairly with their industry, which is heavily regulated.
For its part, the city has expressed sympathy for taxi drivers and has passed a number of motions aimed at constraining Uber. However city officials have acknowledged that they don’t have the resources to go after the company for every instance where it violates city bylaws.
“We’re sorry for the people in the public, but this message should have been heard by city officials,” Sukhan said.
He said the protests would begin Feb. 12 and proceed through the weekend.
Mayor John Tory’s office did not immediately comment on the announcement.