How Uber is ending the dirty dealings behind Toronto’s cab business

On the streets of Toronto, there’s a story that’s gone on for way too long – the dirty dealings behind the cab business. But things are changing. Let’s have a look.

In September 2012, one of Toronto’s taxi licenses sold for $360,000. As it turned out, this was a peak that presaged a major slide. By 2013, the average selling price of a cab plate had fallen to $153,867. In 2014, it was $118,235.

The reason behind this plunge is Uber, the online service that lets you order a ride through your smartphone. By the looks of it, Uber may drive a stake through the heart of the cab business. It’s about time.

  • Ed

    Good reporting is so rare anymore, when it happens its quite shocking

  • andycanuck

    A good report although I laughed at, “But corner stores don’t work that way. Neither does the publishing industry, […]” considering how protected and subsidized the publishing industry is in Canada.

    And I wonder if his investigative report into the Somali being killed by the two Paras eventually discovered the truth that the whole unit was acting under the influence of the antimalarial drug they had, technically, been illegally administered or if he just blamed Military! and Racism! (despite the one Para being a Native) for the murder?

  • irishrus

    almost as bad as the Ontario dairy industry, where you need big bucks to milk a cow and must dump all excess milk over your quota

  • Clink9

    Great article. If some of the drivers working for the old system are smart they would run out and lease a car for Uber.

    • Makes sense.

    • terrence

      Many of them do just that in cities that have Uber.

      Most, if not all, taxi systems are oligopolies
      Oligopoly definition, the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors.

  • lgeubank

    Taxi medallions (as in New York) and liquor licenses — two areas where the licensing does nothing but artificially restrict the number of participants. The city provides nothing except its permission, for a huge sum. Rent controls are similar.

    Licenses, medallions, etc. should be open to everybody who qualifies (by an objective set of criteria) — not just a set, restricted number. That just creates a privileged class.

    • Toronto is just a mess.

    • canminuteman

      I think I’d go farther than that. I would get rid off all the rules/regs that we now have for taxis an see what happens. When we see how it works out we might decide that there is a requirement for some regulation, but maybe not.

      • ntt1

        exactly. Require the insurance industry to set safety regs and have done. It would free up a lot of initiative in the transit industries, right now it is moribund.

  • ntt1

    cab license sales are a totally black market issue utilizing a medallion that is given out free or for a modest service charge by municipal governments, the ridiculous inflated price is behind the massive overhead that causes high taxi fares in the first place, open up taxi licensing and include uber drivers if they wish, let the holders of inflated licence medallions take the bath they deserve,.charge a very low licensing fee for all forms of public transport including horse and buggy, rickshaws both pedal and motorized, allow vans to be converted licensed and used to feed transit hubs. this would encourage rural areas to be serviced by private minibuses. Eventually free up buses themselves to private owner /operators . This would allow Vancouver at least to shed the massive over managed monster that is translink. all transit should be deregulated and while safety standards are needed put the onus on the experts:the insurance companies who would be underwriting all the forms of transit.

  • simus1

    Taxi regs are intended to enhance rent seeking by owners and favour granting by politicians. The exploitation of drivers is another perk. At the end of the day, the city will likely get stuck with a substantial payout to get out from under this long festering mess.