After years of battle, taxi companies seem to have given up on fighting Uber.
But that doesn’t mean the war is over. Now, Toronto taxi owners and operators are suing the City for failing to protect them as Uber established its stronghold in the market. They allege that the value of their service plummeted when lawmakers failed to impose regulations on Uber.
The class-action lawsuit seeks $1.7 billion and was filed by three plaintiffs: Lawrence Eisenberg of Lucky 7 Taxi, Behrouz Khamza of Taxi Action and Sukhvir Thethi of Ambassador Taxi.
The City has responded by denying the lawsuit’s allegations and calling for a dismissal of all charges.
So, why $1.7 billion? That’s the estimated loss in value of the roughly 5,500 licensed taxi plates in Toronto. According to Eisenberg, the arrival of services like Uber and Lyft have caused the value of taxi plates to fall from around $400,000 $30,000.
The plaintiffs’ statement argues the city has been regulating the taxi industry for almost 60 years while its tech competitors played by looser rules. These regulations included the City taking in thousands of dollars when plates were transferred, sold, or leased.
It’s unlikely that a judge will side with taxi operators on the matter, though one thing is clear: Uber and Lyft can reliably assume a stronger alliance with the City of Toronto at the conclusion of this latest move.