TORONTO, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Proposed taxi industry reforms in Toronto will help fight exploitation and build equity for frontline drivers, says an association representing hundreds of city taxi drivers.
"After years of struggle by drivers and a long exhaustive process, we believe this report is a step in the right direction for reforming Toronto's taxi industry," said Sajid Mughal, President of the iTaxiworkers Association.
The iTaxiworkers Association supports in principle the reforms proposed in the city's new report, Toronto's Taxicab Industry Review: Framework for Further Consultation.
In particular, "the new proposed Toronto Taxicab License will reduce exploitation and build equity for frontline taxi drivers," said Mughal.
The report released last week by the city's Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) department is the result of over three years of protests, consultations and analysis sparked by the brutal stabbing of a Toronto taxi driver on Feb. 14, 2010.
The iTaxiworkers Association previously released its own study into the failures and successes of the Toronto taxi industry and concluded the owner-operator model should be expanded and improved.
The iTaxiworkers also supports in principle the city's intent to address "on demand" taxi access for the underserviced disabled community.
"Taxi drivers welcome the opportunity to improve and expand the vital transit service we provide citizens of this city," Mughal said. "We are happy the report addresses the need for better access for the disabled and we look forward to discussing ways to achieve the goal of 100% accessibility by 2050."
"Taxi drivers welcome industry reforms that enhance the quality, safety and professionalism of their service," Mughal said.
"However, the general optimism taxi workers feel about the city's report is dampened by some outstanding issues yet to be properly addressed," he said.
"We all support the goal of serving customers better, but the question of who is going to be able to afford to buy a wheelchair-accessible taxi remains unanswered. It could potentially triple the price of the vehicle that taxi drivers must pay out of their meager earnings."
The iTaxiworkers Association urges the city to clarify that drivers will not be left holding the bag when it comes to purchasing and/or retrofitting vehicles to be wheelchair-accessible. The reality is frontline taxi drivers cannot afford any new input costs that may come from mandated improvements.
The iTaxiworkers will continue to advocate for Toronto's frontline taxi drivers throughout the city's consultation process.
"We feel confident that our concerns with some of the recommendations will be heard in the consultation sessions planned for July 2013," said Mughal.
SOURCE: iTAXIWORKERS Association
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