Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Toronto taxi follies

I assume anyone in Toronto is aware of all the protests related to taxi drivers and their unhappiness over the city's collective refusal to reign in UberX.  I actually saw them tying up University Avenue on my way in to work this morning.  It is actually a fairly complex issue with a lot of wrinkles, not nearly as simple as most people make it seem.  It is probably true that Uber drivers generally do not carry enough insurance (and are often lying to their own insurance companies) -- and who really knows just what kind of blanket coverage Uber has or doesn't have for its drivers.  That said, it is going to be all but impossible to truly put Uber and related apps back in the bottle, so it does make more sense to come up with some reasonable regulations that would cover Uber and perhaps lighten up some of the taxi regulations.  What is clear is that while the cab drivers may have intimidated a small number of Toronto councilors, their actions, particularly today, have driven even more people over to Uber and UberX.

I generally avoid taking cabs unless there are no reasonable alternatives.  I probably never took a cab for myself until a few years into my consulting career.  Then I realized in some cases, it really did make sense.  This year I have generally worked far too late and it has gotten so that the only way I could make a play opening was to take a cab, but hopefully this is only a temporary thing.

I generally had pretty good experiences with Toronto cabs.  However, we have moved to a street a bit off the beaten path, and one friend had a miserable experience trying to get here from Union Station.  I would say since the move, half of the rides I've had from the neighbourhood (not from downtown) have been really bad, including one where a cab driver got completely lost and went the wrong direction and then another cab driver who started arguing with me about directions to my house.  So I have to say that my generally positive feelings have basically evaporated.  I haven't signed up for Uber, but it really is just a matter of time, I suspect.  Still, I do my best to avoid needing a cab or Uber in the first place, and I would like to keep it that way if possible.

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