London’s taxi drivers have struck a deal with the city after threatening to disobey a bylaw by not paying an annual licencing fee for next year, the association representing the city’s taxi drivers said Thursday.
Drivers were required to pay the $750 fee by Oct. 31, but last month the association announced that its 450 members would not pay the fee out of protest over the City’s handing of the ride-sharing service Uber. The fee adds up to a total of more than $330,000 a year.
“I think the city heard us loud and clear and what we’ve come to is a compromise,” said Roger Caranci, spokesperson for the London Taxi Association, in an interview with AM980’s Devon Peacock on Thursday.
According to Caranci, taxi drivers will still have to submit required paperwork by Oct. 31, but will have until Nov. 20 to pay the fee.
“The fee will be pro-rated to March 1, so it will only be $250 rather than $750, and then we can decide after that, obviously, our drivers can decide with the new bylaw in place whether they want to go further,” Caranci said.
“I think that was a very fair compromise from the city’s standpoint, and I think our brokers owners agreed with that, obviously, and they’re happy with that.”
The ride-sharing service has been operating illegally in the city since last summer, frustrating the association and taxi drivers who have argued the city hasn’t done enough to crack down on the so-called “bandit cabs.”
Last night, the city hosted a public participation meeting on Uber at Centennial Hall. After a six-hour long debate, the Community and Protective Services Committee referred the issue back to staff.
The city is hoping to have a new vehicle-for-hire bylaw in place on the books by next March.
In July, councillors voted to axe mandating in-car cameras and banning surge pricing from its list of proposed regulations for Uber.