TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Huge changes are on the way for Toronto's taxi industry, promising benefits to customers and frontline drivers.
Toronto's taxi landscape is being altered after years of organizing and advocating for improvements by the iTaxiworkers Association and the United Steelworkers (USW). Frontline taxi drivers and customers can expect better service from a new, owner-operated licence and an increase in accessible vehicles available to the public.
One of the biggest changes will see taxi drivers keep more of their earnings, as middlemen and absentee investors - who add no value to the industry but siphon off millions of dollars annually - are eliminated from the system.
Ambassador drivers also win as they see an end to an unfair two-tier system. Ambassadors will be allowed to hire a second driver, thereby creating 1,300 new jobs, while sick and disabled drivers will be allowed to hire replacements when they can't work.
The catalyst for the launch of the iTaxiworkers' campaign to reform the industry was the brutal stabbing of driver Khalil Talke in early 2011.
Mr. Talke was assaulted and left for dead, then suffered further from a loss of his income because city rules forbid him from renting his cab to another driver while he recovered from his devastating injuries. In fact, he was required to return his plate to the city.
"This is a great victory for hardworking frontline taxi drivers in Toronto," said Ken Neumann, National Director of the USW, which has long supported the taxi drivers' efforts to reform the industry.
"In partnership with the iTaxiworkers, the USW will continue to fight for improvements in the industry that see drivers earn a livable wage and improve their working conditions," Neumann said.
Implementation of the new taxicab regulations will begin July 1, 2014. All taxis are expected to become owner-operated and wheelchair-accessible by 2024.
SOURCE: iTAXIWORKERS Association
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Sajid Mughal, President, iTaxiworkers Association, 647-836-2930, [email protected]