Uber Operating Illegally in Toronto, City Officials Say

by Knowlton Thomas

City officials in Toronto say that taxi-hailing company Uber is operating illegally and have charged Uber with 25 municipal licencing offences.

The city's charges include operating of an unlicenced taxi brokerage and an unlicenced limo service. Even though Uber doesn't own a fleet, it still needs a licence in order to dispatch cabs, the city argues.

Individual penalties can be as little as $150. But added up, Uber could be facing up to $25,000 in charges. The fees to apply for a taxi cab brokerage licence, which Uber did not do, are less than $400 in Toronto, according to the city.

Another violation Uber is making is charging a 20% gratuity on top of metered fares, a portion of which Uber takes. This is contrary to the city's licencing bylaw, the city affirms.

Uber and Toronto will duke it out in court in January. The company began operating in Toronto in August.

Uber has had difficulty in several other cities this year, including New York and San Francisco. In Vancouver, it's been forced to charge a $75 minimum. But the company also earned a victory in Washington this week, so not all is bad for Uber.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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