I want to say up front that my experiences with taxis in Ottawa have generally been positive over the years. Most taxi drivers work long hours and take pride in their cars and the service they provide. But a few are going to ruin it for all of them and it’s to this minority that I’m referring to below.
So, I’ve been thinking about writing about the taxi drivers blocking traffic on the Airport Parkway because of their dispute over pickup fees with Coventry Connections and the Ottawa Airport Authority for a while now. Last week, the “protesters” attacked a taxi with a passenger, breaking the windows. Fortunately, the perpetrators (or at least some of them) have been arrested, so hopefully some of them will be held to account for their actions.
It’s completely unacceptable for this behaviour to be tolerated. I have no problems with the taxi drivers picketing in front of Coventry Connections or the business offices of the airport authority, but they have no right to block the Airport Parkway and certainly no right to cause damage and attack people as some of them have done recently. If/When they block traffic, they should be arrested and their vehicles towed.
My mom summed up the situation nicely last week in a letter to the editor in the Ottawa Citizen:
I am appalled at the violence of the protesting locked-out airport fleet taxi drivers on Tuesday. Why are they able to block a public road — the Airport Parkway at the Uplands Drive overpass — and attack the vehicle of another cab driver in such a violent manner with complete disregard for the safety of the public? Why did the police who were out there not act to stop the violence?
The citizens of Ottawa and our visitors arriving at the airport should be able to travel safely on our public roads without fear of being attacked by these people behaving like thugs. I sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this violence who were captured on video will be charged and that it happens before someone gets seriously injured.
I’m not a supporter of Uber because they’re are operating unlicensed taxis, but if some of the licensed cab drivers are going to act like asshats, perhaps it’s time to figure out how to allow Uber to operate legally in the City of Ottawa.