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Swine On The Highway, Miller Avoids Cleaning, Cabs Don’t Like Drunk Chicks

A slaughterhouse-bound tractor trailer crashed on the 401 yesterday, setting 50 pigs loose on the highway. It’s a funny human interest story, because nobody died, with the exception of a few pigs, and they were on their way to the chop anyway. Everybody wins!
Mayor Miller is still in China, avoiding awkward conversations about human rights in Tibet. But Miller’s major social faux pas this week? He’ll be missing Mayor David Miller’s Community Clean-Up Day this Saturday, April 19.
The PATH is getting a $65-million upgrade, adding a new tunnel to improve pedestrian flow into Union Station.
One million Canadians throw out their Nalgenes as Health Canada names bisphenol A a dangerous substance.
Toronto police are cracking down on cab drivers who refuse fares based on distance (and drunkenness) when the nightclubs close in the entertainment district. Police call it a “troubling trend,” which is ironic, because the entertainment district is an endless parade of troubling trends.
Photo by Never Was An Arrow II from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


  • jaymo

    Cab drivers should be allowed to refuse a fare if they feel unsafe for any reason. They are providing a service, much like a storekeeper, and I would bet that if I tried to go into Holt Renfrew all drunk and staggering, I would be removed. Would Holts be charged – I doubt it.
    As a cyclists, I despise cabbies as much as the next guy – but I would hate to be one in this city full of self-indulgent princes and princesses. It has to be one of the most thankless jobs out there.

  • Mark Ostler

    But they shouldn’t refuse a customer just because they aren’t going far enough. Refusal for safety reasons should be acceptable.

  • rek

    Let cabbies refuse fares for any reason and they’ll refuse a whole lot of fares for a whole lot of other reasons too.
    And cabbies that don’t want to pick up drunks shouldn’t be trolling the entertainment district at night.

  • jaymo

    So now we’re going to tell them where they’re allowed to be, too?
    The last thing I want cops in the entertainment district doing is running around worrying about whether or not all the party-goers are being treated fairly by cab drivers. There are much better ways they can be spending their time.
    If a cabbie doesn’t want you in their cab, that should be enough. They shouldn’t even have to give a reason. There are other cabs – lots of them.
    Cabbies are constantly getting bent over by the idiots we have working at city hall – I hope they raise hell over this one and block the DVP again.

  • Patrick Metzger
  • Marc Lostracco

    I got in a cab at the Royal York and asked him to drive me to Yonge and Bloor, and the bitched at me all the way, angry that I was only going a short distance when he could be driving hotel guests to the airport. It took every fibre of my being not to explain to him that he’s a goddamm cab driver, which means that his job is to drive me to where I want to go, which I pay him for.
    I’m sure anyone with brown skin will tell you that allowing cab drivers to arbitrarily decide who they don’t have to pick up is a bad idea. And say you’re a woman standing in the rain in a remote area, and you watch an empty cab drive right by because he doesn’t pick up women. Or one that will take you, but not your disabled friend at the same time. Sounds pretty wrong to me.
    Having shitty customers is a hazard of any job that deals with people, and unfortunately, the inconvenience or danger that sometimes comes with driving a taxi is also part of the job. It’s no newsflash to any prospective cab driver, and the taxi industry is continually looking at ways to improve the safety of their drivers.

  • Ben

    If someone blocked the DVP permanently, I doubt anyone would even care after a few weeks. Maybe someone could start the world’s first elevated pig farm up there.
    Great picture by the way!

  • David E

    I believe all of us have had to choose who we’d like to sit near or beside on the streetcar or bus or subway. By extension, we decide who we’d not sit beside or near.
    It’s the same thing with taxi drivers. They are captive in their car and they shouldn’t be required to take passengers who they feel might menace them or cause them fear.
    Passengers on the transit can move away but cabbies are captive to their own vehicles.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Cabbies can already refuse a fare on personal safety grounds, or kick someone out of the cab for being abusive.

  • Green Sulfur

    This is a safety issue in the Entertainment District. If cabs start cherry picking customers then the abundance of disorderlies in the District will become even more disorderly when they have to fight for a cab.
    If cab drivers don’t want to pick up some District patrons then they should just stay away all together.

  • burnstoemerge

    Well, I guess my friends and I aren’t the only ones who get judged by our cab drivers after a night on the town. Even if we’re not drunk, if we’re just having a good time and being a bit loud, drivers have been nothing if not rude to us on more than one occasion.
    I understand that some fares might be dangerous, but how can a driver know unless he sees a gun hanging out of someone’s pocket or something? Every cab driver I’ve talked to recently has complained how there is never enough fares and business is slow. As far as I’m concerned, drunk partygoers are a cab driver’s bread and butter, especially once the subway stops running and the bars close.
    They should stay out of the ED altogether if they’re going to pick and choose, but honestly, I think there’s a good chance they could pick up a “dangerous” fare anywhere else in the city at two in the morning on a Saturday night.
    How could they think certain fares are dangerous? Unless they see guns hanging out of their pockets or hear them yelling, “Let’s rob this cab driver!” it’s probably mostly appearance-based, if not race-based, discrimination.

  • jaymo

    So unless someone has a gun hanging out of their pocket they shouldn’t be deemed a threat? Each of us have our own reasons, personal and unique to each of us, for feeling threatened by any particular person.
    I agree, to a certain extent, that staying out of the district may be a solution. However, there are restaurants there, and movie theatres etc. that are potential sources of business for cabbies.
    I don’t think drunk party-goers are a cabbies bread and butter … unless they are going to the airport and stopping along the way to deliver a large package.
    As for discrimination – face it, we live in a society that revolves around it. If you are a club patron, you have probably been subjected to it at some point. Hell, if you walk down the street you have probably been subjected to it.
    We tend to insulate ourselves within our little bubbles and pretend that these things don’t exist in our society. That’s just ignorant.

  • rek

    Police don’t have to be involved, just make it easier to report discrimination from cabbies.

  • Carrie M

    I can completely understand refusing to take someone if the cab driver feels threatened in any way, but refusing because someone isn’t going a far enough distance and telling them that they’ll only take the customer somewhere if they pay double is ridiculous. I already commented about this at BlogTO, so I’m going to take the lazy route and cut & paste (mostly because it says it all anyway):
    The cabbie bilking thing is infuriating. I was at a show at Sound Academy a short while back, and as we all know, there’s no TTC service later in the evening. Cabs were refusing to take anyone to Union Station unless they paid $20. Double what the actual rate is. It was my first experience with this ripoff tactic, and after the 3rd driver saying he wouldn’t take us, I yelled at the next driver, who quickly (and frightfully) backed down and gave us a ride for the regular rate, apologizing over and over, saying that all the cabbies do it. What bullshit. And they know that if we don’t accept, we’re generally stranded in the middle of nowhere. At least in the entertainment district you can walk a block north and catch a streetcar. I’m glad the city is cracking down.

  • tripper

    I can understand not wanting an obnoxious, vomitous drunk in your cab. That’s not pleasant company for anyone. But refusing short fares is ridiculous, especially for a cabbie that hangs around downtown. If they only want long-haul fares then they should stick to the airport.
    Perhaps Rihanna said it best … Just shut up and drive.

  • jaymo

    Who the fuck is Rihanna?
    I certainly don’t support cabs turning you down because you’re not going far enough – but trying to enforce who gets a ride and who doesn’t seems like a waste of time and resources to me. They are going to continue to operate as they always have.
    What resources are going to be devoted to this? Where is the money going to come from? Is there any money left or is it all being allocated to Miller’s budget for jetsetting around the world to do business with communist countries?
    Who knows. Maybe there is no right answer. My opinion though, is based on the fact that if I were a cab driver – I would turn down whoever I didn’t want in my car – and I think that should be their right.
    If we are going to crack down on something, it should be the numerous scams that cabbies run, such as the one Carrie mentioned.

  • x_the_x

    16, Cab drivers have a license which entitles them to operate in a protected market. The quid pro quo is that they cannot refuse fares, unless they fall into the categories set out above, which most agree covers reasonable exceptions.
    “My opinion though, is based on the fact that if I were a cab driver – I would turn down whoever I didn’t want in my car – and I think that should be their right.”
    You would be in breach of the terms of your license and it would be revoked. So, in your hypothetical, you wouldn’t be a cab driver for long.
    Re: resources, it is relatively easy to police. All cabs have a unique license and there is a hotline number and e-mail address in each cab. If you are refused a ride, simply send an e-mail to the hotline with the license number and the time of refusal – very simple from manifests to figure out who the driver was. Managers/owners already have an incentive to punish drivers caught if the city has the power to revoke the license (which have a steep market value already).

  • spacejack

    Has anyone noticed how often cab drivers’ license info (hanging on the back of the front seat) doesn’t look entirely legit?

  • jaymo

    One might think that police have an obligation to give out tickets to people who violate laws, but whether or not a person gets a ticket is officer discretion.
    Whether or not a person is allowed in a cab should also be up to the person driving the cab. That’s my opinion and you can disagree if you want to, as is your right.
    Calling a hotline or sending an email is only the first-step in what has the potential to be a bullshit process. Have you ever tried to lodge a complaint against a cop? Such systems are designed to lead the public to believe that someone cares while at the same time making it impossible to stay sane while going through the process.
    Maybe I wouldn’t be a cabbie for long, with my opinions. or maybe I would be just fine. My guess is that someone who is hammered and on the verge of puking isn’t really going to spend the time writing down the little hotline number on the back of my cab as I drive away from them.

  • TokyoTuds

    Allowing cabbies to refuse fares is a slippery slope. Taxis are a critical part of the transportation system and, although private and not public, are given a license by the government to carry out a line of business.
    Drunk patrons in the ED are also the white collar, suited up patrons of daytime business meetings, future parents, taxpayers, tourists, and so on. Don’t give people another reason to drive when they are drunk!
    This issue is mixing two problems: driver safety and discrimination. The solution to discrimination is requiring cabbies to pick up all fares. The solution to driver safety is cameras in cars, having incidents well reported in newspapers, and so on.
    If I were a cabbie and I started a fare that later acted up or seemed dangerous, I’d pull up in front of the nearest police division, and tell them to get out there. The job of the police is also to protect cab drivers from criminal activity.

  • catalyst

    ever since the time 2 years ago while a cab driver was on the phone in his cab told my girlfriend and i that she cannot kiss me in his cab or get out, ive not takin a cab since. and vow to never take one again, he was rude, righteous and many times ive seen them run red lights cut of bikers, and deny people rides based on distance driven is countless.thanks.

  • RealityCheck

    For a bunch of leftists the commentariat is shockingly libertarian on the issue. Probably because of your greater hatred of anyone that goes to the ED and “fratboys” or “douchebags”.
    If cabbies are allowed to refuse fares for distance or inebriation, people are forced to drive. TTC provides minimal service when bars are letting out, and it’s 30 mins to an hour to walk from the ED to Yonge+Bloor if you’ve been partying.
    If we didn’t have this government monopoly on cabs and anyone could start a car service according to their own rules, then cabbies refusing service would be fine. Since the city limits the supply of cabs, they must ensure that the limited supply provided by their agents conforms to public policy by not discriminating and by reducing the impetus for driving under the influence.

  • rek

    Don’t lump us together; there are plenty of comments against it too.

  • Ben

    Reality Check, The range of political viewpoints is not one dimensional (okay, with some people they are). You’ve probably seen the “political compass,” with its fiscal and social axes, or something similar.
    Furthermore, I think most people here are smart enough to decide on issues on a case by case basis, and can accept that a free-market approach works sometimes, but some government control is necessary other times.
    Thanks for pointing out the political nuance in this issue.