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LETTER: Is the playing field level?

Guelph resident Neal Hammond asks if there is fair competition between taxis and ride sharing services
taxi cab stock
Stock image

GuelphToday has received the following letter from a Guelphite concerned about ride-hailing services versus the taxi industry in Guelph:

In 2015, when Uber came to Guelph, Mayor Cam Guthrie said he favoured competition and a level playing field.

Taxi owners pay many up-front costs that contribute to our local government.

Uber does not.

Taxi owners support local businesses by maintaining, repairing and safetying their vehicles in Guelph.

Uber drivers may if they live locally.

Taxi owners in Guelph pay for expensive mobility vehicles and their maintenance.

Uber does not: imagine no mobility service.

Taxi owners and drivers pay for Police Criminal Records check.

Uber does not: imagine a predatory driver.

Taxi plates/shares are regulated by the city, one share for every 1,100 people.

Uber is allowed and registers more drivers daily.

Taxi’s have expensive meters, checked and sealed, with predetermined “drop” and kilometer rates.

Uber parent company determines the fare but can change their rates depending on time of day or for holidays.

Taxi companies have two-way radios in cars, another expense.

Uber does not.

Taxi companies are contacted by Police to keep an “eye out” for missing children, parents, or patients.

Uber does not help in these matters.

Taxi owners each pay $750.00 a month for commercial insurance (non-negotiable).

Uber drivers can pay $10.00 - $300.00 a year for “ride-share” commercial insurance.

Due to these inequities, Uber can offer out-of-town rides for approximately half the price of a metered taxi ride.

What is competitive or fair about this?

Mayor Guthrie, your solemn words are empty platitudes. You and this Council feign neutrality, while shackling the taxi industry and allowing unlimited numbers of Uber drivers in Guelph. You have, and support, a corporate mentality, and sacrifice small business on their altar.

-Neal Hammond