24 July 2015
- From the section Technology
Uber is facing a multimillion-dollar joint legal action by taxi drivers in Canada’s biggest city Toronto.
The drivers are seeking C$400m ($307m; £198m) in damages and an injunction to stop the taxi-booking app from operating in the province of Ontario.
The action alleges that services like Uber X and Uber XL have created an “enormous marketplace” for illegal transportation in the city.
Those services use contract drivers who are not licensed taxi operators.
The legal action was filed by law firm Sutts, Strosberg LLP and named cab driver Dominic Konjevic as the plaintiff.
The firm said the case represents all taxi drivers and companies in the province and if a judge agrees to hear the case, drivers and companies can choose not to be involved.
The move comes after a provincial court had rejected the city’s bid to stop Uber’s services in Toronto earlier this month, citing there was no evidence it operated as a taxi broker.
Uber has responded by saying the “protectionist” lawsuit is without merit.
“As we saw from a recent court ruling in Ontario, Uber is operating legally and is a business model distinct from traditional taxi services,” a spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday.
Uber’s app allows passengers to request rides from drivers in the area and its fares are generally lower than those of traditional taxis. It also offers ride-sharing options.
The San Francisco-based firm has been embroiled in legal battles around the world over its operations.
Last week, it was fined $7.3m (£4.6m) in California for withholding information from regulators on incidents such as accidents.
- Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, South Africa, the US and UK have all seen demonstrations against Uber
- Protests have brought gridlock to major capital cities; in France, they turned violent
- Uber has had to provide security for its drivers in South Africa who have been threatened by rivals
- An Indian woman filed a lawsuit against Uber saying she was raped by one of its drivers in Delhi
- Sexual assault allegations have also been made against Uber drivers in the US and Canada
But, this has not stopped the company from moving aggressively ahead with expansion plans.
The lawsuit was filed on the same day as Uber Canada expanded into four more Ontario cities, offering free rides to customers.