Coventry Connections president and CEO Hanif Patni is making no apologies for his efforts to protect the taxi industry as it battles ride hailing competitors like Uber.
© Michael Curran
Coventry Connections president and CEO Hanif Patni was the guest speaker at the Eggs N' Icons breakfast March 24 at the Sheraton Hotel.
by Marc Shaw
“Our business pays taxes and has costs of operation. You’re darn tootin’ right if you say I’m trying to protect our industry,” Mr. Patni told the crowd of business leaders gathered at the Sheraton Hotel for the Eggs N’ Icons breakfast Thursday. “There’s a lot of stake for us and what we do.”
Mr. Patni was speaking the same day his company launched a new partnership with eCab, an international smartphone app that acts very much like Uber except for the fact it only works with licensed taxi drivers.
While Mr. Patni did mention the app, his focus Thursday was on the larger fight at hand, one that is not unique to the taxi industry.
Unlicensed competition, whether it be Uber taking on taxis or Airbnb competing with hotels, don’t necessarily contribute to the cities where they operate, Mr. Patni said.
“When you think about where we’re going with this society, these companies are turning full-time jobs into part-time jobs. The money goes straight offshore and they avoid taxes,” he said.
Mr. Patni said many of the city’s licensed drivers are immigrants who care about their adopted country and community.
Now, they are finding their livelihoods at risk, he said.
“If you think the disparity of wealth in Canada is wide today, in 20 or 30 years it’s going to be a disaster.”
Mr. Patni acknowledged the evolution of technology, saying his fleets would continue to embrace it as they grow, all while providing safe and reliable service to the Ottawa community.
Eggs N’ Icons is a presentation of the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. The next event will be April 21 when TransCanada director Stefan Baranski will be the guest speaker.