Entire Canadian city turns against Uber

19 Nov 2014

Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is seeking an injunction against Uber, the latest in a growing number of negative stories surrounding the ride-sharing service.

Following news that an Uber executive suggested the company should start smear campaigns against critical journalists, claims that Uber accesses users’ information without their permission and criticisms of sexism on the company’s marketing procedures, Toronto has now taken steps to ban the service entirely. 

The city is concerned Uber’s operations “pose a serious risk to the public, including those who are signing on as drivers,” officials said in a statement.

The lack of mechanical vehicular inspection, lack of driver training, inadequate insurance and unregulated fares are just some of the reasons why the city is seeking an injunction, requesting that all Uber operations in Toronto cease.

Similar cases in Berlin and Hamburg have seen the transportation service banned, with growing criticism of the business making headlines worldwide.

“With Uber, Torontonians have enjoyed real competition and greater choice,” Xavier Van Chau, a spokesman for Uber, told Bloomberg. “It’s disappointing that city bureaucrats have deployed expensive legal tactics to attempt to halt progress.”

He said the company wants to sit down with city officials to “find a common-sense approach to regulations that promote public safety.”

Yesterday, news emerged that Emil Michael, Uber’s senior vice-president for business, called out Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily, a critic of the business.

Elsewhere, reports that Uber had accessed a BuzzFeed journalist’s user record without her permission to make a point sparked Uber into a blog response yesterday, affirming that rider data is “confidential information” that will only be accessed by company employees in a narrow set of circumstances. The company said it is now investigating its “top New York executive” in response to these claims, detailed by BuzzFeed

All in all, controversy is following Uber right around the world. One wonders what the next story will be.

Toronto image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic