Toronto proposes rules for taxis, limos and Uber - Canadian Government Executive
GovernmentPolicyPublic SectorTransformation
April 7, 2016

Toronto proposes rules for taxis, limos and Uber

City proposes to reduce regulations governing taxis and lays down rules for Uber

In dealing with the impact on the sharing economy on transportation, Toronto officials want traditional cabbies and limousine drivers to share the city streets with Uber drivers under one bylaw but operate under different sets of rules.

The last 18 months have been tumultuous for taxi drivers and operators as they saw their monopoly encroached upon by the mobile app-powered, ride-hailing service, Uber. As cab drivers staged street protests, Uber Canada launched a PR campaign calling for commuters to urge lawmakers to come up with regulations that would legalize Uber.

On July 7, 2015, city council directed Municipal Licensing & Standards staff “to review the operations of Uber and technologies like it, including the interests of the public in the technologies and their impacts on the current taxicab industry.”  In September 2015, city council directed staff to report on a framework to equitably regulate all ground transportation providers, including taxis, limos and private vehicle-for-hire services, such as Uber provides, “to level the playing field while considering the city’s accessibility objectives for the industry.”

 

 

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Today, Terry Cook, executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards; and Vanessa Fletcher, policy, and planning advisor released a summary of the regulations that will be considered by Toronto’s Licensing and Standards Committee at its meeting on April 14.

“Today, we have new regulations that create a level playing field, provide safe, convenient options to our residents and allow drivers to earn a competitive leaving,” Toronto City Mayor John Tory said in a statement today.

However, at least, one councillor was not happy about the proposed changes.

“Instead of levelling the playing field, we’ve dropped the floor and completely caved to Uber, and I’m shocked by t, frankly,” Coun. Janet Davis said during a press conference.

On social media she tweeted:

 

The aim of the proposal is to ensure:

  • Service providers all regulated under same Bylaw
  • Reduce regulations for taxicabs and limousines
  • Permit Private Transportation Companies (services like Uber and Lyft) to operate in the city with regulations


Here’s a breakdown of some of the proposed rules

Driver screening

Taxi

  • City sets screening criteria
  • Criminal background and driver record checks
  • Received and approved by the city

Limo

  • City sets screening criteria
  • Criminal Background and Driver Record checks
  • Received and approved by the city

Uber

  • City sets screening criteria
  • Criminal background and driver record checks
  • Received and approved by the Private transport companies
  • Audited by the city

Fare

Taxi

  • City regulated rates charged on street hail and at cab stands
  • Permitted to discount from city-regulated rates when trip is booked through broker
  • City rate unchanged – acts as maximum rate

Limo

  • Permitted to set and charge own rates
  • Remove minimum $70 per hour fare requirement

Uber

  • Permitted to set and charge own rates

Licensing fees

Taxi

  • Annual driver fee – $290
  • Licensing fees reduced by 17% for drivers
  • Training cost eliminated

Limo

  • Annual driver fee – $290
  • Training cost eliminated

Uber

  • One-Time Application Fee: $20,000
  • Annual licence and renewal calculated by $10 per driver and 20 cents per trip originating in Toronto

Driver training

Taxi

  • No city-mandated training
  • Free accessible training for owners and drivers of accessible taxicabs required

Limo and Uber

  • No city-mandated training

Vehicle standards and insurance

Taxi

  • No more than 7 model years with 4 doors
  • Twice annual inspection by City
  • No longer require snow tires
  • $2 million liability coverage

Limo

  • No more than 7 model years with 4 doors (other than stretch)
  • Submit Annual safety standards certificate
  • $2 million liability coverage

Uber

  • No more than 7 model years with 4 doors
  • Submit Annual safety standards certificate
  • $2 million liability coverage

For more details on proposed regulations, click here.

About this author

Nestor Arellano

Nestor is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business. He is the editor of Vanguard Magazine and the associate editor of IT in Canada and a regular contributor to CGE.

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