It’s been four months since Uber launched its popular UberX service in Toronto. UberX allows anyone to sign up to become a cab driver and ferry Uber users around the city at a reduced rate. The issue many people have with this service is that of passenger safety.
Uber has always maintained confidence in its background checks and stringent vetting process for drivers. The City of Toronto is in the midst of a lawsuit that seeks to block Uber from operating within city limits. The City cites driver and passenger safety, as well as inadequate insurance, a lack of driver training and vehicle checks, and unregulated fares.
However, Uber is now claiming that some licensed taxi drivers have applied to become drivers and failed to meet the company’s standards. Speaking in an affidavit filed last week, Uber Toronto GM Ian Black said that at least 26 licensed Toronto cab drivers had applied to become UberX drivers and failed the necessary background checks.
“I do not have personal knowledge of the details of the background checks needed to become a municipally licensed taxicab or limousine driver in Toronto,” The Star quotes Black as saying.
“However, I am aware of at least 26 UberX applicants, who were current licensed Toronto taxicab drivers, and who failed to meet the above-noted standards, based upon a background check conducted by (background screening company) ISB.”
According to The Star, Uber performs two background checks on applicants, one that checks for criminal convictions and one that checks for convictions under the Highway Traffic Act. A driver must have no more than two minor convictions for the three years preceding his application.
The City of Toronto has yet to comment officially on the allegations. However, The Globe reports that the City sent an undercover private investigator to apply to become an UberX driver and it took only six days to file the application, get approval and complete training. The private investigator, who is also a former policeman, said that he was told to bring his car in for an inspection, but it was never actually inspected. What’s more, driver training consisted of a 15 minute video, and a 10 question true/false quiz.
[source]The Star, The Globe and Mail[/source]