Toronto Cab Drivers Sue Uber For Interference With Their Super Profitable Business Model
from the that's-how-it-works,-of-course dept
I was last in Toronto a few years back, pre-Uber, and I remember clearly having a long conversation with the cabbie who drove me from the airport to my hotel, about just how ridiculously corrupt the taxicab business is in Toronto. He was telling me how supply was artificially limited, and even things like being allowed to pick up passengers at the airport required under-the-table kickbacks to certain officials. The driver was pissed off about the whole thing. I’m reminded of that now, as the news comes out that some cabbies in Toronto are suing Uber itself, claiming illegal competition. This is interesting on a few levels. While we know that many cabbies are upset about the competition from Uber drivers, in most cases the direct attacks on Uber have come from the cities and politicians, rather than directly from the cabbies. Yes, there have been riots by cabbies in France, and protests other places, but actual lawsuits have mostly been limited. There are a few exception, such as when Chicago cabbies sued Uber with some nonsensical claims about false advertising.
Here the claims seem equally questionable:
Law firm Sutts, Strosberg LLP, which is representing the taxi drivers, said in a statement on Thursday that the named plaintiff, cab driver Dominik Konjevic, alleges that “Uber X and Uber XL have created an enormous marketplace for illegal transportation in Toronto”.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a claim here other than “we don’t like competing.” Or, as we’ve described it in the past, felony interference with a business model. It’s not even clear how the Toronto cabbies have standing here, as you’d think anyone who would have a right to complain would be the passengers, but of course, that’s not going to happen, because most of them actually like services like Uber.
There’s also the fact that an Ontario court just rejected an attempt by Toronto itself to block Uber in the city, saying that the service was legal. The cabbies here are filing this under different “provincial” law though it seems likely to have the same overall outcome.
Yes, I’m sure if you’re a cabbie in a cushy industry where there is tremendous corruption and artificially limited supply it must really suck to have to face real competition from players who are more innovative and provide a better overall service. But that doesn’t mean it’s illegal.