Beck calls on City of Toronto to protect best of taxi system

TORONTO, Sept. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - City Council should be focused on preserving the strengths of the taxi system it has developed over decades as it presents a report today concerning the future of the ground transportation in Toronto.

"As we recently announced, Beck is committed to listening to taxi riders in Toronto and evolving to meet their changing expectations of the services we provide," said Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager at Beck. "Toronto has spent decades developing effective taxi regulations to ensure the safety of riders and drivers while also protecting consumers through regulated, stable and fair pricing standards."

Beck will carefully review the city's report and hopes to find in it recommendations that will help improve the services taxis offer to Toronto riders.

"As Beck innovates to meet riders' changing needs, we are confident the city will not let the presence of a black-market taxi service wipe away these regulations that were established for a reason," added Hubbard. "Furthermore, we are very hopeful this report will also lead to new and improved rules that will allow taxis to better serve Torontonians and create a more level playing field."

Key questions Beck has of the city report

As Beck reviews the report, the brokerage hopes City Hall will address several key questions:

  • Is the principle of a level playing field for all taxi providers protected within the recommendations of this report? Beck strongly believes UberX operates as a taxi service. Any fair-minded person would agree that passengers are using UberX as a taxi service and not a ride-sharing service. (Read more: http://www.yourbeck.ca/uber_continues_to_mislead_consumers_about_providing_properly_insured_for_hire_vehicles)
  • Will rider safety be maintained by ensuring the same high standards are in place for any and all taxi drivers and taxis operating in Toronto? (Such as: commercial insurance, proper licenses, background checks done by police and police only.)
  • What impact is the presence of a low-cost black market operator having on public transit ridership and the livelihood of the people who have always followed the city-mandated rules?
  • How will important protections for the number of accessible taxis in Toronto be preserved?
  • Do we have the right number of taxis on our streets to meet riders' needs and how do we ensure congestion is not made worse?

Protect what works

It is critical that councillors remember that the taxi system we have today is the creation of city regulations that have been developed over decades. The strengths of these regulations include:

  • Fleet of over 5,000 vehicles, inspected by licensed mechanics a minimum of twice a year;
  • A cap on the number of taxis to ensure riders have speedy access to an adequate number of taxis, while also ensuring congestion isn't made worse in Toronto;
  • Rigorous and regular background checks on drivers done by Toronto Police Services;
  • Proper commercial insurance for all taxis, as verified by the City of Toronto, that protects both the driver and passenger;
  • Regulated fares to protect consumers with certainty of cost and to prevent surge pricing;
  • Extensive training for drivers that includes sensitivity training, first aid and defensive driving;
  • Protections for the number of accessible taxis; and
  • A plan to ensure all for-hire cars are fuel efficient by 2023.

Improve fare prices

Beck hopes that the report recommends offering riders more reasonable and affordable taxi fares. Fares were increased in response to rising gas prices. With gas prices having now decreased, we believe an adjustment is in order.

Black-market taxi operators are saving costs by ignoring city bylaws, while luring riders to forego personal safety in order to save money. We don't think people need to trade their personal safety to save a few bucks. With prices that reflect current fuel costs, everyone wins and everyone remains safe.

Next steps in review

"We look forward to carefully reviewing this report and to sharing our input on its recommendations with our riders and city councillors," said Hubbard. "Our goal is to work diligently and professionally with the city, all councillors and the mayor, to ensure Toronto is well served by its ground transportation system with safe, effective and smart regulations."

Steps Beck is taking

"While Beck strives to always provide our riders with a safe, reliable and seamless travel experience, we recognize that riders' needs are changing," said Hubbard. "Beck is listening to Torontonians and is committed to evolving with their changing expectations. This includes offering new and innovative technology, exceptional customer service and advocating for a more reasonable fare price for riders."

To learn more about Beck's new plans to engage with its riders and meet their changing needs, visit www.yourbeck.ca.

About Beck:

Beck is a family-run business that has operated in Toronto for 49 years. Beck dispatches to the largest fleet of taxis in North America with over 2,000 available cars operated by professionally trained, licensed and commercially insured drivers. For the past 20 years, the organization has been the proud recipient of the Toronto Sun Reader's Choice Award for Favourite Taxi Company in Toronto.

Beck app features:

  • In-app payment with credit card or PayPal
  • Arrival times and distance away of ordered Beck
  • New map view to track your Beck
  • Estimated fare calculator when destination is entered
  • 'Favourite' frequent pickup and drop off locations
  • Email receipts when using in-app payment or PayPal
  • Auto tip functionality
  • Search function to locate addresses or nearby businesses
  • 'Rate my Ride' feature to rate Beck experience
  • Order up to 30 days in advance
  • Entire system powered by the latest Google products

SOURCE Beck Taxi

Image with caption: "Beck Taxi (CNW Group/Beck Taxi)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150909_C4150_PHOTO_EN_492914.jpg

For further information: Media enquiries: Travis Kann, 416-642-5027, media@becktaxi.com

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Beck Taxi

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