• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

Cab drivers busted for ride-screening in police sting operation in 2008


Staff member
Cab drivers charged for not taking clubgoers home

Published Tuesday, April 15, 2008 2:51PM EDT

Toronto cabbies are being chastised for refusing to take clubgoers home on the weekend.
A group of undercover female police officers posing as clubgoers found that a number of taxi drivers refused to provide them with service when they asked to be taken just a few blocks from the city's Entertainment district.
"The officers had not consumed alcohol and were not acting drunk," said Det. Const. Mark Tracey with 52 Division.
"They asked to be taken about seven blocks away and they were refused service," he said in an interview with CTV.ca.
Police laid 21 charges against taxi drivers on the weekend for refusing the first fare. The crackdown was part of a two-day blitz dubbed "Project Take Me Home" aimed at identifying and charging cab drivers who violate municipal bylaws.
Authorities say it's becoming a popular practice for cabbies to refuse service to people who want to be driven a short distance. Some drivers have been asking for an "unreasonable amount" up front, police say.
According to the city, cab drivers must serve the first person who requests their service, no matter how short the travel distance may be. Refusing the first customer is a violation of a municipal bylaw.

The bylaw states the only time a driver can refuse a customer is if:

  • The passenger owes the driver money from a previous fare
  • The passenger refuses to disclose their final destination
  • The passenger asks to be driven to a remote place that the driver considers unsafe
  • The passenger is unduly obnoxious or abusive
  • Cab drivers must record the reasons why a passenger has been denied service.

However, Tracey said the police crackdown over the weekend found a number of cabbies are violating the bylaws.
The practice is putting people's lives at risk, according to a news release put out by 52 Division, the police station responsible for patrolling the city's Entertainment District.
"Abandoning these young people on the streets, and leaving them on the roadside, creates a unique public safety issue," the release says.
"Assaults and disorderly conduct between people trying to hail taxi cabs has become commonplace," it continues. "Patrons often put themselves in harm's way, while making desperate efforts to hail cabs from the middle of the street."
Police say the majority of the charges were laid after the clubs let out for the evening, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. They also said this is the hour where most violent crimes against people take place.
Tracey said making sure people get home right away is part of the police safety plan for the area.
One cab driver told CTV Toronto that cabbies are selective with fares because they don't want to lose out on the rides that will yield them more money.
"Sometimes we wait an hour or two hours and we expect a good fare," he said.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Roger Petersen


TRIBE Member
The fact that this is from 2008 makes it even sadder and even more relevant as the prediction has rung true.

"Abandoning these young people on the streets, and leaving them on the roadside, creates a unique public safety issue," the release says.

Cops should do these stings on a regular basis.
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories


TRIBE Member
If I recall correctly, TPS did such a sting 1-2 years ago.

Just another reason why the taxi industry is losing to Uber.


TRIBE Member
Even if this study was from 2008 it's more relevant now than ever before. A girl is dead in part because of this.

Cab drivers can complain about Uber & plate fees etc. all they want but then refuse to take me 5 blocks away because "I've been waiting here for 2hrs for a fare and if I go take you for $8.00, how does that help me?"

BS. Uber will NEVER refuse me a ride.

Bottom line is that Uber wouldn't be able to flourish the way it has if the existing service was satisfactory to all. This situation will only compound people's frustrations with cabs.
Last edited:


TRIBE Member
I guess for me it goes to show that if we cared, we could have had better cab service long before Uber.

Enforcement efforts like the 2008 sting could have been more frequent and more comprehensive.

We could have galvanized support to end the feudal licensing system, if people really cared about the underlying inequities.

I think the answer kind of staring us in the face is that we have a shitty cab system mostly because we didn't care to change the shitty cab system - the hard life of immigrants hasn't really been a concern for us so why would the licensing system be a big issue if its biggest victims aren't politically active or attractive to politicians, and we never demanded of our city a continued effort to enforce existing cab regulations or to make awesome new ones.

We were too worried about "taxpayer dollars" and the other shiny things and mantras that occupy our minds come election cycle - to say nothing of our lack of concern between cycles!
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders