This right here? This is the face of an industry that deserves to die. More on him in a bit.
Yesterday large swaths of Toronto were brought to a standstill by taxi drivers protesting Uber. More specifically, uberX—everyone seems to forget that you can still use Uber with a licensed cabbie, at least in this city.
In Toronto uberX is currently operating outside of local bylaws, but it’s also hugely popular, and with good reason: through the app’s rating system drivers are, for the first time ever, held accountable for their vehicles and service. There are some lingering questions about insurance and liability but honestly, I’ve had fantastic experiences with uberX, uberXL and even UberBlack every time I’ve used them.
And after yesterday’s protest I’m going to be using them a lot more.
The protest started in the early morning hours. Here are cabs blocking the southbound Don Valley Parkway, a major route into the city for commuters.
Here’s Queen’s Park, where the Ontario government sits, surrounded by honking cabs.
Now back to our friend at the top of the post. He got himself into a confrontation with an uberX driver and passenger, hanging on to the mirror of the car as it tried to drive away. Unfortunately I can’t embed the video into this post, but you can see it for yourself via the first link below:
Here are taxis actually blocking an ambulance. You can see the video here.
And back to our friend one more time: in what will likely be remembered as the worst PR move ever, he decides to go on camera comparing Uber to ISIS. Again, I can’t embed the video directly, but you can see it for yourself here:
Despite calls from dispatchers to stand down, the protest continued well into the evening rush hour, until police finally stepped in and started handing out what I sincerely hope were very expensive tickets.
After similar—albeit much more violent—protests in France, local governments caved to taxi unions and made UberPOP (the European version of uberX) illegal. I certainly hope that Toronto doesn’t suffer the same fate, because as of this day I vow to never take a metered taxi ride or airport limo again.