Cabbies, cops converge in council chamber
Just a quick tip for regular readers: watch the local six o’clock news tonight, because what happened today at city council—hundreds of cab drivers in the public gallery making such a commotion that council recessed and the cops were called in—was pretty chaotic and is better viewed than read about. For those who care for the reasons behind the fracas, here’s your two-paragraph briefing note.
The chamber erupted over Councillor Howard Moscoe’s proposal for what you could call the Tit-for-Tat bylaw. The proposal would ban Mississauga-based airport taxis from picking up fares anywhere in Toronto, just as Mississauga forbids Toronto cabs from picking up fares within its city limits (which includes the airport). Mississauga cabbies hate the proposal because it means that, when they pick up someone at the airport and drop them off downtown, they would then have to return to the airport empty. But this is the situation Toronto cabbies already face: they can pick up fares in Toronto and drive them to the airport, but they’re not allowed to pick up a fare at the airport and drive them back into the city. Airport taxicabs are lucrative business, and the Mississauga cabbies stand to lose a lot of money if this bylaw passes, so they showed up to complain.
Moscoe stressed that this proposed bylaw is not his ideal solution. He says he wants free trade in airport taxis—where anyone can pick up and drop off from anywhere—but he wants this bylaw in place before he tries to negotiate a better solution. We’ll see about that. Once this bylaw is passed, the Toronto cabbies will want to protect their turf and keep the Mississauga cabs out of the city. In any event, it wasn’t a pretty sight in council chambers today. For a while there, you had a lineup of cops standing between dozens of South Asian cabbies and Toronto’s very white council. Like I said, watch tonight’s news.