The state of cabbie-Uber relations in Toronto. Screenshot via CBC.
Toronto taxi drivers completely lost their shit during a citywide protest against Uber on Wednesday, comparing the ride-sharing company to ISIS and causing traffic jams and injuries.
Tensions between local taxi operators and Uber have been mounting since the company set up shop in Toronto in 2012. City council has been debating how to regulate Uber, but it seems taxi drivers have run out of patience—and common sense.
On Wednesday, thousands of them descended on the city's core in their cabs, blocking major traffic arteries and pissing commuters off by driving as slow as 3 MPH. As they neared City Hall, all hell broke loose.
Chanting "this is an UberX," one cabbie who identified himself to Global News as Suntharesan Kanagasabai started banging on the window of a white Honda and trying to open the driver's door. The alleged Uber driver then peeled off, but instead of letting go of the vehicle, Kanagasabai held onto the front and was essentially dragged mid-air through traffic.
"We are trying to get a point across, that's what we're trying to do," he later breathlessly told reporters, noting that he has 22 years of driving experience.
Not done there, Kanagasabai then likened Uber to the most notorious terrorist organization on the planet.
"Uber is going to be like ISIS my friend, Uber is ISIS," he shouted. "Do you know what ISIS means?"
To his credit, reporter Mark McAllister told the disgruntled driver he was "going a little bit too far."
"You're claiming that Uber is bringing terrorism to Toronto?" he asked, to which Kanagasabai replied, "Yeah!" (Which begs the question, do you know what ISIS means, dude?)
Another cab driver ran down a cop on Yonge Street, causing minor injuries; according to police, one person was arrested and a bunch of tickets were handed out for slow driving.
All the drama prompted Toronto Mayor and Grandfather-in-chief John Tory to ask everyone to chill the fuck out.
"The point has been made... [but] we cannot allow our cities to have these dangerous activities to continue during rush hour," he said.
Meanwhile, some cab companies, including Beck, are distancing themselves from the methods being employed by protesting drivers. The Toronto Taxi Alliance said it doesn't support "any tactic which will disrupt traffic or transportation for Toronto drivers and residents."
Taxi drivers claim Uber isn't playing by the rules and is causing them to lose business. But Wednesday's antics didn't likely help their reputation.
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