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BMO

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Riverdale Rink Rat

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Uber must be a fairly big corporation - their enterprise is pretty far flung. So far, they seem to be giving a fair share back to their little guys (the drivers) and haven't crossed any lines in the public ethos. But like, say, Facebook, the day may come when they cross the line and are seen as just another filthy rich corporation whose product is as annoying as it is useful.

"I suppose a valuation of more than $60 billion makes Uber a sexaginticorn, and I remember back when Uber was a mere quinquagintacorn, just months ago. It has now "raised more than $10 billion and counting," and I still don't entirely know what it needs all that money for, though part of me hopes that the answer will be stock buybacks." -- Matt Levine of Bloomberg View

Uber's a BIG corporation, to say the least. (For non-finance types, a private tech company that does a round of financing that implies a $1 billion valuation is known in the industry as a 'unicorn.')

Also: why does Uber need to be regulated? Why do taxis need to be regulated (and I don't mean on safety grounds, of course, just as a rental car company / trucker / car owner needs to have an inspection, so do Uber cars or taxis. I mean on price and restriction of numbers grounds).
 

kEiThZ

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Except the government isn't funding the internet and servers that host the apps, unlike Uber where the government is literally funding the production lines of their services. The difference is this is a company who's making a mint off of it and shifting the true taxable costs onto people that we wouldn't want to go after because it just wouldn't be worth it on a one-by-one basis and it's too difficult to do anyway.

1) Governments have provided all sorts of funds to develop the internet.

2) Curious why you think government is funding the "production lines of their services"? How so? Because of licensed taxis based on artificial system of medallions that restricts supply of taxis? How exactly is government funding production of Uber's services? I'm curious.

3) Uber drivers should be taxed. Just like cabbies should be taxed. It's actually easier to enforce taxation on Uber drivers because payments are all done electronically, unlike all those cabbies who insist on cash over credit cards so that they can work under the table (you didn't think those medallions were worth hundreds of thousands based on legal fares right?). However, because of employment rules, Uber has to insist on drivers being independent contractors. Make a solid regulatory framework where Uber can take on drivers as employees without detrimental liabilities and it might just happen. In the interim, however, government can and should enforce taxation, like it does, for all sorts of independent contractors. And government should get used to pursuing small fry. This is where the "sharing economy" is heading. If they insist on only pursuing those who evade taxes beyond a certain amount, they're going to see a lot more tax revenue lost.
 

kEiThZ

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"
Also: why does Uber need to be regulated? Why do taxis need to be regulated (and I don't mean on safety grounds, of course, just as a rental car company / trucker / car owner needs to have an inspection, so do Uber cars or taxis. I mean on price and restriction of numbers grounds).

This is actually the debate we need to have. Taxis were regulated initially to avoid congestion, and to ensure reliability and safety. Somewhere along the way that got morphed into a restiction of supply, supposedly to guarantee the income of drivers, but the system that we ended up, still pays drivers peanuts while making rent-seeking plate owners rich.

Who exactly is the government protecting here, with this system? It's certainly not the consumer.
 

BMO

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1) Governments have provided all sorts of funds to develop the internet.

We can argue until the cows come home about every nickel and dime, but in essence for the most part, internet is a private venture that is maintained and operated by private companies. Roads and infrastructure are not. Hence, without roads and bridges Uber would not be able to function.

2) Curious why you think government is funding the "production lines of their services"? How so? Because of licensed taxis based on artificial system of medallions that restricts supply of taxis? How exactly is government funding production of Uber's services? I'm curious.

Be that as it may, revenues from taxis in a company are taxed at a company level. I'm not saying it's a perfect system, but it's a reality that the overall setup for how taxis work is generally more kosher when it comes to taxing. Work needs to be done to make it a similar situation for Uber but it isn't, and as such tax evasion is just a reality with Uber whether you agree with existing taxis or not.

3) Uber drivers should be taxed. Just like cabbies should be taxed. It's actually easier to enforce taxation on Uber drivers because payments are all done electronically, unlike all those cabbies who insist on cash over credit cards so that they can work under the table (you didn't think those medallions were worth hundreds of thousands based on legal fares right?). However, because of employment rules, Uber has to insist on drivers being independent contractors. Make a solid regulatory framework where Uber can take on drivers as employees without detrimental liabilities and it might just happen. In the interim, however, government can and should enforce taxation, like it does, for all sorts of independent contractors. And government should get used to pursuing small fry. This is where the "sharing economy" is heading. If they insist on only pursuing those who evade taxes beyond a certain amount, they're going to see a lot more tax revenue lost.

In an ideal world sure...I mean when I got hardwood floors in my house a few years ago I paid in cash to my contractor to avoid taxes but at least he has to setup a company and a bunch of other stuff. Uber drivers don't have to setup a company or anything, you can literally have drivers making thousands and flying under the radar. I'm not saying it doesn't happen in other industries (i even pointed it out with mobile apps) but the inherent setup for how Uber works makes it extremely difficult for the government to track down thousands of independent drivers who may be doing it regularly or who may have just done it for a day. Why would the government waste resources tracking down one driver who may have only made $200 tax free from Uber over the past year it's not worth it. It's a situation where the individual parts are not worth going after but it's the sum that makes the difference. There needs to be some way the government can get driver information from Uber (if that's even feasible with privacy concerns) so that the drivers can be taxed, otherwise how would the government even know? Should we be reporting drivers to the canada revenue agency? Ofcourse not, let's not be ridiculous, but there should be a clear and explicit way for taxes to be collected through Uber for this (just as it is for Taxi companies currently).
 

crs1026

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This is actually the debate we need to have. Taxis were regulated initially to avoid congestion, and to ensure reliability and safety. Somewhere along the way that got morphed into a restiction of supply, supposedly to guarantee the income of drivers, but the system that we ended up, still pays drivers peanuts while making rent-seeking plate owners rich.

Who exactly is the government protecting here, with this system? It's certainly not the consumer.

I seem to recall one of the newspaper collumnists recently alleging corruption in the licensing administration in past decades. More recently, the market value of the plates made it possible for the City to maximise its income from selling new ones. We need to break the cycle.

Other than a criminal check and perhaps a medical exam, a taxi license should be as cheap and easy to obtain as a dog license. The safety, courtesy, and navigational knowledge standards should continue to be regulated and become more stringent.

- Paul
 

dowlingm

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Didn't the courts throw out the case against Uber? Why then is it technically illegal? Please explain your logic.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...down-uber-dismissed-in-court/article25273958/

I would say after the court win Uber is technically LEGAL and the harassment of Uber by the City is pushing the boundaries of the city being in contempt of court.
The court dismissed the case brought, partly because the City did not name in the suit the Uber entity which operates the app itself. It does not mean Uber (or more precisely UberX) is legal in all aspects, just that the court declined to declare them so in the manner the city brought their action. The judge also noted that the City could have gone down a regulatory route rather than resort to the courts.

In the case of Uberhop, the City of Toronto Act is provincial statute not a city bylaw. The City cannot amend that itself, so if it wants to act against Uber for defying the law then it seems to me the Court is the correct first stop this time.
 

Admiral Beez

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3) Uber drivers should be taxed.
They are taxed, like the rest of us for using the roads through license and plate registration fees, fuel taxes, etc. And Uber drivers are obliged to declare their income, same as any other person providing a service.

If they don't declare this income, they're breaking the law and CRA will catch them, same as they're starting to do with renovation contractors by using computers to match up cost of assets and property against declared income. They're called Lifestyle Audits, http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/lrt/lrn-mr-eng.html
 

jozl

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I have been advocating a system for years that would partner the TTC with Toronto's cab industry. Perhaps limited sharing of revenue between taxi companies and the TTC by offering special rates for cabs that pick up more than one fare at a time to go to a subway or lrt station. It could be a source of revenue for both and would take pressure off of bus routes.
Now... with UberHop we're nearly there. If the city could levy a small surcharge say, 25 cents per UberHop passenger to go to the TTC coffers we could all benefit. Thanks Uber.
 

CDL.TO

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LOL.

I like how the list is an implicit admission that cab drivers haven't been doing those things. How many of those are a resolution to try and follow the law? Three out of six?
 

crs1026

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The staying out of bike lanes is constructive, but is that the only paragraph in the Highway Traffic Act that they intend to obey? Or have the others been deferred until the 2017 resolutions?

- Paul
 

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