Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Underground taxi business forced to close in Thunder Bay

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An underground company had to close its activities. (Archives)

Radio-Canada

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The Municipality of Thunder Bay has ordered a company to cease operations after an investigation found it had provided taxi to thousands of passengers for several months without a license.

Doug Vincent, director of the city's licensing office, said that while illegal ride-sharing services may offer lower fares, they lack the security measures that licensed companies have. He adds that personal insurance is usually invalidated in such cases.

People looking for the most economical rides should consider the consequences of x27;a ride that seems too good to be true, too cheap to be true, and they need to check it out, Mr. Vincent told CBC News.

Licensed taxi and rideshare companies are required to have properly insured drivers, have their driving records reviewed, and submit to a criminal background check.

This particular company, which we just investigated, [had all the appearance of a real taxi company] and therefore seemed completely legitimate, Mr. Vincent said. The problem was there was no insurance, no inspections, no background checks [of drivers], none of the safety measures that we would have established.

LoadingIntensive negotiation between the government and the FAE

ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Intensive negotiation between the government and the FAE

In addition to this clandestine carpooling company, some say they are concerned about citizen carpooling groups that trade on messaging apps.

Cody Ruberto is the founder and CEO of Uride, the only licensed electronic hailing service in Thunder Bay. He says he is increasingly concerned about the existence of WhatsApp groups where people compete to offer rides at the most competitive prices.

There has over 1000 races a week right now [in Thunder Bay] in these types of groups. It's pretty scary, Mr. Ruberto said. This is a massive problem in Thunder Bay, more so than the majority of other cities we operate in.

Mr. Ruberto says he is worried that drivers from the company that had to close its activities will start offering their services in these WhatsApp groups.

If it was my sister, a family member or someone who [uses the services of] these groups, it would scare me, added Mr. Ruberto.

Every time a Uride driver activates their app, they automatically switch from their personal insurance to x27;commercial insurance of the company. Drivers can also leave a review after each trip to keep drivers accountable, says Ruberto. He says that in the absence of such a control system, the consequences can be disastrous for everyone who hits the road.

The drivers of his company must present their operating permit issued by the City upon request, he added.

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