A proposal aimed at preventing patrons from jumping cab fares is causing controversy in Toronto.
The City of Toronto’s Taxi Cab Advisory Committee has released a list of 40 recommendations. Among them, a proposal for a $25 flat fee to be applied if the driver thinks a patron might skip paying their fare. This requires taxi drivers to profile every customer.
“It’s sickening. It’s crazy. What’s the criteria there to let you know if your going to pay $25? And if I’m taking an $8 cab ride am I going to pay $25 first and expect a refund?,” says Kristine Hubbard, operations manager at Beck Taxi.
Hubbard is not the only one feeling this way. Humber College Police Foundations student Anthony Soproni isn’t a fan.
“I think it’s bulls–t. I think you shouldn’t be judged on what we look like or who we look like or who we could be. I think everyone should be treated equally,” says Soproni.
Soproni’s classmate Anmol Birk agrees.
“I can see where they are coming from. Sometimes you get a shady character they can hold you up or sometimes they cannot pay you and they run off,” says Birk.
Hubbard says the recommendation adds a second opportunity for conflict.
“It is putting them at greater risk because it’s increasing the chances of conflict. That’s what it does. And now it’s two transactions instead of one,” she says.
Hubbard feels the city looks at symptoms of the problems and does not have the necessary experience to make the right decisions.
“The executive director [of the MLS] has only been with licensing and standards for two years. This review has been going on longer than she has been in her job. I’m sure she is a very nice person but it doesn’t mean that she is qualified to overhaul an industry,” says Hubbard.
Hubbard says the review suggests no additional training for cab drivers.
Taxi drivers in Toronto only have to attend a 17-day course to receive their licence. Other cities, such as London, require more than a year of training.
Hubbard argues better conflict resolution training is safer than profiling.
“Right now we have 17 days of shameful training and they are not even going to look at that. Instead going to put these ill trained people in front of intoxicated customers, people who may have the intention of doing them harm and have them creating more conflict,” says Hubbard.