The most recent punch being thrown in the fight over vehicles for hire in the city is being thrown by the London Taxi Association.
On Monday, the association announced that it would not be paying the yearly licensing fee for 2017.
The fee is $750 and is paid by about 450 members of the taxi association, which totals more than $330,000.
On the steps of city hall, spokesperson for the London Taxi Association Roger Caranci (pictured) said he is fed up with taxis having to compete with Uber, despite a bylaw prohibiting the service from operating legally in London.
“City council asked Uber on three separate occasions to stop operating until they were regulated. Uber thumbed their nose at a legitimately elected government that sets rules and regulations in the City of London and the City allowed them to continue doing that. So we’re frustrated.”
A media release issued by the London Taxi Association made mention of “Bandit Cabs” operating under the Uber platform.
When asked if London taxi drivers could be ticketed by not paying their licensing fees, Caranci said that was a risk they were willing to take.
“We would hope that the City would understand our plight and would hold off until decisions are made, and this council finally gets rules and regulations in place to regulate Uber,” he said.
Council has yet to make a final decision about the popular ride-sharing app, though they have taken steps towards regulation rather than prohibition.
Ward 4 Councillor Jesse Helmer, who has been firm in his support of Uber, said the bylaw should be enforced, even with the taxi association deciding to put themselves in danger of being charged.
“I think the most important thing is that they’re deciding, just like Uber has been not following our bylaw, to also not follow our bylaw. So we’re getting into a state where more and more people are flouting the rules that we already have in place in the City of London, which I think is regrettable.”
Ward 11 Councillor Stephen Turner made his opinion known on Twitter, saying, “Disappointing to see a former cllr supporting breaching the bylaw, too.”
A spokesperson for London’s bylaw enforcement office said they would review the information and come up with a plan.
The contentious issue will go to a public participation meeting set for October.
A little over a year ago, Uber entered London with little warning and little acknowledgement for bylaws preventing them from operating.
Earlier this year, London’s bylaw enforcement office announced that about two dozen Uber drivers had been charged and 36 offences had been handed out.
Edmonton became the first city in Canada to legalize the service by creating a new category for ride-sharing companies back in June.