UberX

It is no surprise that UberX has been under scrutiny for some time now, but why? Isn’t UberX just another taxi service? Not according to the courts.

UberX services have been subjected to multiple rape accusations by customers. It has been under fire long enough to compel the government to take some action. According to the law, UberX services differ from regular taxi services as they do not reflect the legal criterion to be regulated under taxi regulations. UberX allows ordinary individuals to pick up passengers for a fare unlike taxi drivers who are regulated. Taxi drivers have voiced their concerns about this practice for considerable time but have not seen much progression on the issue.

An Ontario Superior Court judge argued that Toronto’s bylaws do not include ride-sharing; consequently, it’s been challenging for the government to regulate UberX services. However, UberX services do violate bylaws pertaining to limousines. According to Toronto bylaws, limousines include non-taxi automobiles that are hired “for the conveyance of passengers”. Bylaw officers have used this loop hole to target UberX services and try to regulate their services. Approximately 36 UberX drivers have been charged for illegally operating limousines. Thus far bylaw officers have filed 72 charges against UberX drivers in the last few days. The fines vary from $300 – $500.

The Challenge

City officials must abide by the law until it is changed. Although the government is moving towards creating bylaws to regulate UberX those changes have not yet been implemented. A new report for UberX regulations is due in September.

City enforcement staff has made multiple attempts to regulate UberX but have fallen short in the past. When city enforcement staff register user accounts and request UberX rides, the accounts are deactivated by UberX once it is determined that those accounts lead to charges under the municipal code. With technology rapidly expanding and becoming more complex, it is challenging for lawmakers to account for all of the possible legal implications that may arise from a single new form of technology. Government officials need to consider the importance of regulation while protecting privacy rights and additional freedoms that can be infringed on due to hasty action. Furthermore, lawmakers need to consider the how new laws will impact precedent cases and existing laws. Hence, a “simple” legal change can take considerable amount of time.

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Points of Discussion:
1. How do you feel about the changes proposed to UberX services?
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