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Jagsir Singh Brar
Taxi Company: City Taxi
Years driving: Started in 1992
Languages spoken: Punjabi, Hindi and English
Photo Location: East York Civic Centre (protest outside City Licensing office)
Date: Aug 17, 2016
Interview Excerpt:
Can you tell me what you do in between rides when you’re waiting for your next passenger?
Sometimes I read the newspaper or listen to any talk show. Make out what they’re talking about on the radio with the taxi or Uber. They always favour with the Ubers. They never talk about us for good things. They always put taxi drive down always. This what I think. So sometimes I read the newspaper or talk to my friends when I’m waiting for the call… But it’s not fair for us what they’re doing… It’s not fair to all the taxi drivers. Nobody following bylaws. Bylaws came out last month in July 15th. Until now, nobody bothers. They don’t have any insurance or any—They don’t follow any bylaw. They are still working Toronto. And I wonder why. What’s happening. Makes you so mad. You always thinking what’s happening in Toronto.
Have you had any famous passengers, any interesting experiences in your cab with your passengers, or anything funny or interesting, or anybody famous?
No, not really, but long time ago I pick up Mr. Ford in my taxi. That time he was a Councillor for Rexdale. So he was a nice guy. He was born from middle-class people I think. So he always help people who need help. So he was good guy, and I hope he was still mayor of Toronto. If was mayor of Toronto, it wasn’t happening. This Uber wasn’t even here. I think it’s all money thing. Anywhere of the country you go, it’s all money. If you have money, “money talk, bullshit walk” is true. So that’s why I think if you’re middle-class, you’re a taxi driver—Nobody bothers you. Nobody cares about you, I think. This is what’s happening right now.
What do you love about being a taxi driver?
You have the freedom. You can go home anytime, work anytime, you’re your own boss. And number two, you meet interesting people. Sometimes they’re nice. You learn from them, and they talk to you. Sometime you pick up old people, they tell you so many things you don’t know. And I always—I don’t care. I always listen to them—what they say. Sometimes I just sit with them even when ride is over. I sit there... And what I figured out being a taxi driver, there’s so many people that are there. They are so upset for some reason, then they have nobody to talk to. If I met those kind of people, I don’t care how busy I am. I just sit there, shut off my car and the driving, and I listen to what they’re talking about. What they want to say. So I always try to listen to people.