Update: see previous posts – April 6, 2016 Toronto: To Announce New Regulations for Taxi’s & UberX, Jan.31/16 Quebec taxi drivers to file injunction to ban Uber, Jan.29/16 UBER: Edmonton legalizes It, Is Toronto Next?, Dec.26/15 UberX Drivers Face New Insurance Challenges
On September 30, 2015 Toronto City Council met to deal with this issue. On that date, City Council dealt with a number of issues surrounding ground transportation in Toronto, mainly Taxis and UberX.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, moved the following motion:
“That City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report back to the Licensing and Standards Committee in Spring 2016 on a framework to regulate alternate ground transportation providers and to begin consulting on the appropriate regulations to ensure a level playing field in the ground transportation industry”.
A number of amendments to the motion were moved/seconded and carried:
- City Council amend the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Appendix C, “Tariff A”, to reduce the initial cost, referred to as ‘the drop fee’, from $4.25 to $3.25 effective November 1, 2015.
- City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to review provisions of the Municipal Code related to taxicabs and report back to Licensing and Standards Committee by January 2016 with recommendations to lessen regulatory burden and enhance competitiveness in the municipally-licensed taxicab industry, as outlined in Attachment 1, including reviewing:
a. current fare structure;
b. vehicle requirements;
c. vehicle inspections; and
d. taxicab training
- That City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report to the Licensing and Standards Committee:a. on the existence or absence of legislation and or regulations that protect consumers against price gouging or surge pricing by ground transportation providers during civic emergencies, electrical black outs, transit disruptions or other events that cause an immediate demand for alternative transportation options and if such Federal or Provincial legislation and or regulations do not exist, the report should include recommendations on how the City of Toronto might address spike pricing in civic emergencies;
b. on the Provincial regulations governing Pearson International Airport rider pick up and recommendations on the process on how that can be reformed to allow Toronto taxi drivers to pick up rides at the airport; and
c. with recommendations for the in-vehicle posting of the Harmonized Sales Tax number held by either the driver or the cab owner so that it can be viewed by passengers.
- That City Council amend Motion 1 by Mayor Tory by adding the words “equitably” after the word “to”, deleting the word “alternate” and inserting the word “all”, and adding the words “that considers the City of Toronto’s accessibility objectives” so that it now reads as follows:That City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report back to the Licensing and Standards Committee in 2016 on a framework to equitably regulate all ground transportation providers and to begin consulting on the appropriate regulations to ensure a level playing field that considers the City of Toronto’s accessibility objectives in the ground transportation industry.
- City Council request Uber to stop operating in the City of Toronto until such time as the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards reports on a framework to regulate alternate ground transportation providers.2. City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report to the January 22, 2016 meeting of the Licensing and Standards Committee on the framework.
In a vote held shortly before 8 p.m., councillors voted 32-12 in favour of Mayor John Tory’s motion asking staff to come back with a new ‘regulatory framework.’
One thing is clear, all that voted in favour of the main motion or subsequent amendments to the main motion, believed that after motion went to the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, that a proposed by-law would be returned that would reflect and ensure a level playing field between the taxi industry and UberX.
Many of the 32 councillors are disappointed with the proposed by-law that the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, Ms. Tracey Cook brought back after six (6) months of consultation and consideration, as they don’t believe that it is a balanced by-law that ensures a level playing field between taxis and UberX.
Ms. Cook delivered the following regulatory framework “A New Vehicle-for-Hire By-law to Regulate Toronto’s Ground Transportation Industry” which contained 103 recommendations. The recommendations are numbered from 1 to 103.
Some of the troubling recommendations, which didn’t appear in City Council’s Sept.30/15 motion:
#26 – City Council delete the requirement that snow tires be installed each winter. Currently taxis must have snow tires beginning on Dec.1 and ending at the end of March. Toronto police cruisers and TTC vehicles are not equipped with snow tires and there is no requirement that they have them – maybe this is the reason why some buses can’t make it up a steep hill, when there is snow on the ground.
What this will mean is that UberX or a similar company will not require its’ vehicle operators to drive in a vehicle equipped with snow tires.
#30 – City Council delete the requirement that taxicab drivers and owners complete CPR training and First Aid certification as a condition of licensing, effective immediately.
This will now mean that taxi drivers and UberX drivers will not be required to complete CPR training and First Aid Certification – which is currently a required for a licensed taxi driver in Toronto.
#31 – City Council delete the requirement for command of the English language as a condition of licensing, effective immediately.
Statistics Canada reported the following in its’ 2011 Census that English was the mother tongue of nearly 58% of the population of Canada (or 19.1 million persons), and French was that of nearly 22% (or 7.2 million persons). As for the language most often spoken at home, English was spoken by 66% of the population and French by 21%.
It is difficult to imagine taxi drivers and UberX drivers that don’t have command of the English language attempting to communciate with passengers.
#93 – 96 – Annual licences for taxi drivers and UberX drivers:
- Taxi drivers must pay a yearly $290 fee for their licence.
- Uber drivers must pay a yearly $10 fee for their licence, but 20 cents per trip will be paid to the city.
This isn’t a level playing field – a taxi driver has to pay a $290 licence fee versus an UberX driver who is only responsible for paying a $10 licence fee.
#24,49 & 75 – Vehicles should be mechanically fit when transportation passengers and sharing the road with other vehicles. Here is a double standard that the proposed by-law is putting forward:
- Taxis: still required to get semi-annual inspections at city-run garages.
- Uber: required to get annual inspections at any garage in the city that meets the city’s requirements.
Why is the City moving backwards?
There is no protection of consumers against surge prices that UberX practices. With surge pricing, the Uber fare rates automatically increase, at skyrocket prices, when the taxi demand is higher than drivers around you.
There is no fare structures to protect consumers against UberX practices.
There is a limit against the number of taxis in Toronto, but none against companies like UberX. Currently there are about 5,000 taxis compared to the 1,500 that UberX claims works for them. This means that UberX and likeminded companies can flood the streets with occasional drivers, well in excess of 1,500 vehicles.
These 103 proposals for a new by-law are a work in progress. This set of proposals will be going to the Licensing and Standards Committee, where this proposed by-law will be discussed in depth, on April 14, 2016 by the Committee. Changes and amendments to this proposed by-law can take place on that day, before it proceeds to City Council on May 3, 2016. This Committee is comprised of the following City Councillors:
Councillor Cesar Palacio, Chair
Councillor Jim Karygiannis, Vice Chair
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker
Councillor Frank Di Giorgio
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti
Councillor Josh Matlow
Every member of this committee voted (save and except Councillor Josh Matlow) against Mayor Tory’s motion on September 30, 2016. These five (5) Councillors formed part of the twelve (12) Councillors that voted against the thirty-two (32) who voted in favour of this motion. This will probably mean that scheduled meeting of April 14, 2016 (that is scheduled for a day) will probably run a couple of days for this committee meeting. This will be a very interesting meeting.
Following the work of this committee, the proposed by-law or amended proposed by-law will proceed to the City Council on May 3, 2016 for additional discussion and possible implementation.
A New Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw to Regulate Toronto’s Ground Transportation Industry
|Public Notice Given|
|(March 31, 2016) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards|
|The Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, recommends that:|
PART 1 – Create a Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw
PART 2 – Vehicle-for-Hire Accessibility Strategy
PART 3 – Proposed Changes to Taxicab Regulations
Taxicab Fares and Taxicab Brokers:
Taxicab Ownership and Licensing:
Taxicab Vehicles, Inspections, and Insurance:
PART 4 – Proposed Changes to Limousine Regulations
Limousine Broker Regulations:
Limousine Vehicles, Inspection, and Insurance:
PART 5 – Proposed Regulations for Private Transportation Companies (PTCs)
Private Transportation Company Licensing:
PTC Record Keeping:
pick up location and destination (by reference to the intersection);
ii. date/time the trip commenced and terminated; and
iii. length of time elapsing between the passenger’s service request and commencement of the trip.
b. For trips involving more than one passenger/fare commenced or terminating within the City:
i. total number of passengers paying separate fares;
ii. pick up location(s) and destination(s) (by reference to the intersection) for each trip;
iii. date/times the trip commenced and terminated;
iv. length of time that elapsed between the time the passenger(s) requested service and the trip commenced for each passenger;
v. the fare(s) paid for the trip; and
vi. number of trips involving multiple passengers paying separate fares.
c. Where requests made for trips to commence or terminate in the City that were not provided as a result of driver cancellation:
i. Pick-up location and destination (by reference to the intersection); and
ii. date/time the trip was requested.
d. Average bi-directional PTC traffic volumes by roadway link on an hourly basis.
a. driver name;
b. vehicle licence plate number;
c. type of service;
d. total hours/minutes the driver was available to provide transportation services through the Platform for requested time period;
e. data reflecting the following periods:
i. Period 1: time period beginning when a PTC Driver has logged onto a PTC Platform and indicated that they are available to receive or agree to passenger trip requests;
ii. Period 2: time period beginning when a PTC trip is arranged and concluding when a PTC Driver has arrived at a location to pick up a passenger; and
iii. Period 3: time period beginning when a PTC Driver picks up a passenger(s) and concluding when the passenger(s) has arrived at their destination(s).
PTC Driver Requirements:
a. provide a current copy of their Ontario Drivers Licence and vehicle registration;
b. must pass Screening Criteria as prescribed by the Executive Director of ML&S;
c. provide confirmation that their personal insurance company has been advised that they offer or intend to offer transportation through a PTC;
d. consent to disclosure of all information provided to PTC to the City and/or law enforcement if requested by City or law enforcement for the purpose of auditing compliance with the bylaw, investigating complaints or potential breaches of the bylaw, or general law enforcement purposes;
e. only permit the owner of a vehicle to be offering transportation through the Platform or confirmation that the owner understands that they are legally responsible for any contraventions of the bylaw when their vehicle is being operated to deliver rides through the PTC Platform.
a. driver licence;
b. proof of applicable insurance; and
c. evidence of a trip in progress or the last completed trip.
PTC Vehicles, Inspections and Insurance:
a. PTC vehicle owner to file a valid Safety Standard Certificate issued by a Ministry of Transportation-licensed garage authorized to undertake such inspections upon application, and annually thereafter;
b. PTC drivers to carry the original or a copy of the most recent Safety Standards Certificate in the vehicle at all times; and
c. PTC drivers to produce the Safety Standards Certificate upon request of a Municipal Standards Officer or police officer.
80. City Council permit PTC to set rates for fares, and require them to:
a. clearly and transparently communicate the amount of all rates to be charged; and
b. ensure a record is maintained that the passenger accepted the rate prior to the trip commencing.
81. City Council require that before a trip commences, a PTC must provide passengers with the following information:
a. vehicle make and model;
b. PTC Driver first name;
c. PTC Driver’s licence plate number; and
d. PTC Driver photo, upon request.
82. City Council require a PTC to provide a print or electronic receipt to the passenger at the conclusion of every trip. The receipt provided must include information on:
a. All rates, fees and/or surcharges charged for the trip;
b. Total amount paid;
c. Date and time of trip;
d. Location at which the passenger was picked up and location to which the passenger was driven;
e. Driver first name and provincial licence plate number; and
f. Total time and distance of trip.
PART 6 – Increased Penalties for Breaches of Licensing Requirements
PART 7 – Administrative Recommendations
PART 8 – Licensing Fees
a. Application fee: $290
b. Annual Renewal fee: $290
a. Application fee: $20,000 (non-refundable);
b. Provisional licence issuance fee of $10 per Driver: calculated based on the number of affiliated PTC Drivers at licence issuance;
c. Per trip fee: $0.20 per trip originating in Toronto, submitted weekly and commencing the date that the provisional licence is issued;
d. 3-month provisional licence fee of $10 per Driver: calculated based on average number of affiliated PTC Drivers in the preceding 3-month period, less the provisional licence issuance fee paid on date of provisional licence issuance; and
e. Licence renewal fee: calculated based on the number of affiliated PTC Drivers in the 3-month period prior to licence renewal.
100. City Council direct the Executive Director, ML&S to report through the 2017 budget process on full-year budget impacts of the proposed changes.
101. City Council direct that all provisions of the new Vehicle-for-Hire bylaw, including the amendments to licensing fees in Chapter 441, will come into effect on July 15, 2016 unless otherwise stated.
102. City Council request the Ministry of Finance to approve new flexible insurance products for the taxicab industry.
103. City Council request the Province of Ontario to make amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to strengthen enforcement powers and amend penalties in relation to municipal vehicle-for-hire bylaws, including the ability to:
|This report outlines a series of recommendations that, taken together, form a new framework for equitable regulation within the vehicle-for-hire industry. This framework is founded on the City’s regulatory purpose and interests of public safety and consumer protection, and accelerates the City’s commitment to ensuring the availability of inclusive accessible service within the vehicle-for-hire market.|
This framework will respond to the public’s request for choice in regulated transportation options and provide an opportunity for the City to shift from prescriptive regulation to an approach based on established standards, accountability and monitored compliance through audit and enforcement. It is anticipated that this approach will enable operational flexibility and provide industry participants with an equal opportunity to provide quality service in a competitive market, while maintaining the City’s municipal regulatory purpose.
There are currently more than 45,000 trips per day taken by the public in unregulated vehicles-for-hire. Appropriate regulation governing this industry is a critical public safety matter. The development of this new regulatory framework ensures that these vehicle-for-hire participants are regulated, as are taxicabs and limousines, balancing the City regulatory interests with existing industry practices.
This report proposes a reset of the City’s approach to regulation, and in some cases adjusts the City’s role as it relates to the direct delivery of service. The proposed framework aims to address public safety and consumer protection, while also providing an opportunity to: develop efficiencies, allow competition, reduce regulatory burden for taxicabs and limousines, and implement regulations for a new ‘Private Transportation Company’ (PTC) licence class, which would permit and regulate private vehicles to offer transportation services, such that UberX provides.
Current vehicle-for-hire regulations have a lengthy, complex, and complicated history. For decades, the City of Toronto and jurisdictions around the world have heavily regulated their taxicab industries and, to a lesser extent, their limousine industries. The Toronto taxicab industry, in particular, has been the subject of repeated reviews which have steadily increased the nature and extent of the regulatory involvement in the industry. One of the key contributors to this has been the restricted issuance of licences which has constrained the number of taxicabs permitted to operate, and has also prevented other transportation service providers from entering the market.
Despite numerous attempts by the City to address issues within the taxicab industry, including two comprehensive reforms in the past 18 years, many within the industry continue to identify issues of poor working conditions and the improper conduct of industry participants/middlemen. These previous regulatory reviews have been focused on regulations meant to address consumer complaints, unsafe driving practices, and fairness among industry participants.
One of the most reformative reviews of the Toronto taxi industry was the 1998 review, which created the Ambassador Taxicab licence, and made numerous amendments to the existing licence class (Standard Taxicabs) to move the industry toward an “owner-operator” model. This change was meant to enhance the quality of taxicab services by reducing the number of “middlemen” and limiting absentee licence owners.
Despite this reform and those resulting from the 2014 Taxicab Review, many taxicab drivers continue to indicate that they are not being fairly treated and further indicate that much of the profits within the industry are being shared amongst middlemen and owners who may not be directly involved in the business. This has a direct negative impact on the City’s objectives of promoting consumer protection and public safety to the extent that the existing financial structure undermines or does not incentivize behaviours that are consistent with the City’s goals.
Staff maintain the belief that owner operated vehicles-for-hire provide the most cost efficient operating model and in many cases, provide a better quality service. In this respect, a recommendation is being made to issue new incremental accessible taxicab licences (TTL) to taxicab drivers on the waiting list.
However, given the changed context of the vehicle-for-hire market and in the interests of providing an equitable level of regulation, staff are recommending the elimination of the owner-operator oriented regulations as they apply to taxicabs.
With the availability of more opportunities for vehicle-for-hire drivers and with increased competition amongst vehicle-for-hire industries, a mandated “owner-operated” taxicab industry model no longer achieves the intended regulatory efforts to protect consumers and ensure public safety. These changes will also recognize the manner in which many within the taxicab industry are already organized operationally and will provide additional flexibility to the industry.
This report proposes a new Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw that:
Overview of Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw
The recommendations in this Report are aimed at creating a regulatory regime for taxicabs, limousines, and Private Transportation Companies (PTC) based on measures appropriate to balance consumer protection, public safety, and the economic wellbeing of the City. Key regulations are as follows:
Staff recommend that taxicabs continue to charge the current City regulated rate for all trips taken through street-hail or at cabstands. If a taxicab is booked through a Taxicab Broker, the rate may be discounted by the Taxicab Broker, subject to specific conditions designed to ensure transparency in the pricing. Limousine Brokers and PTCs will be permitted to set rates to be charged which may vary in different time periods, but passengers must accept the rate before the vehicle is dispatched.
Staff recommend a multi-pronged approach to ensure accessible vehicle-for-hire service. This approach proposes:
3. Number of Vehicles-for-Hire
Staff recommend continuing to limit the number of taxicab licences issued. It is recommended that the City not impose a limit on the number of limousine licences or number of vehicles affiliated with a PTC.
4. Taxicab Licensing
Staff recommend reducing the regulatory burden on taxicabs by reducing the number of taxicab owner licence categories and eliminating certain current licensing requirements to increase flexibility. This approach proposes:
At the same time, staff recommend the creation of a new licensing category “Taxicab Operator”, which will recognize and regulate the operations of lessees and fleets operating taxicabs to regulate and hold accountable the actual “operator” of the taxicab for such things as vehicle maintenance and records management of taxicabs under their control.
Staff recommend permitting any four-door vehicle less than 7 (seven) model years old for use as a taxicab, limousine, or PTC vehicle.
Taxicabs will continue to be subject to semi-annual, City-run mechanical inspections, and will be required to meet all existing vehicle quality standards. Limousines would no longer attend the City for semi-annual inspections, but would instead be required to submit an annual Safety Standards Certificate issued by a Ministry of Transportation licensed garage upon renewal. A PTC will be responsible for ensuring that all vehicles affiliated with it submit an annual Safety Standards Certificate issued by a Ministry of Transportation licensed garage upon application, and annually thereafter.
Recommendations seek to authorize enforcement staff to issue a notice and/or direct any vehicle-for-hire to undergo a mechanical safety inspection at their discretion.
Staff are requesting authority to undertake a review of options and the feasibility of transitioning taxicabs to an alternative inspection process, such as that being recommended for limousines and PTC vehicles.
Due to the independent and anonymous nature of street-hail and cabstand taxicab service, taxicabs continue to be the only vehicle-for-hire that is required to have a taximeter, a roof light, a camera, an emergency light, markings that identify it as a taxicab, and a Taxicab Bill of Rights. Staff are proposing to establish a Taxicab Vehicle Quality Standard, which will provide clarity and transparency to service providers, and address the public’s interest in vehicle conditions.
Staff recommend harmonizing taxicab and limousine driver licences to create one “Vehicle-for-Hire Driver’s Licence” that will permit drivers to operate taxicabs or limousines.
All persons wishing to operate as taxicab, limousine or PTC drivers would be required to meet the same criminal background and driver screening requirements, as established by the City.
The City would continue to collect and screen the applicants for taxicab and limousine drivers. A PTC would assume responsibility to collect and screen the applicants for PTC drivers, and be required to submit or make available on an ongoing basis, electronic records of permitted drivers, where the records of the PTC will be subject to audit from the City.
Staff recommend reducing the barrier to entry to become a licenced taxicab or limousine driver by eliminating the mandatory City-run training for all taxicab and limousine drivers and owners, with the exception of drivers of accessible for-hire vehicles.
All taxicab and limousine vehicles are currently required to carry a minimum of $2 million of collision and passenger hazard insurance. PTC vehicles will also be required to carry a minimum of $2 million of collision and passenger hazard insurance. In addition, PTCs will be required to carry $5 million of commercial general liability insurance.
Overarching Purpose of Recommended Changes
This report outlines the recommended changes to the existing legislation governing the taxicab and limousine industries, and recommends the development of regulation to govern new entrants being named Private Transportation Companies.
This review has provided the opportunity to refocus and reset the City’s approach to regulating the taxicab and limousine industries and to propose the regulation of PTCs, aiming to establish an equitable and appropriate level of regulation that balances the interests of diverse stakeholders. The proposed changes will remove constraints that have prevented the expansion of vehicle-for-hire services in the past, foster competitiveness, allow taxicabs and limousines to develop efficiencies, and reduce regulatory burdens.
|This report outlines a proposed new vehicle-for-hire regulatory framework, which will require a shift in the roles and responsibilities needed to administer, regulate and enforce such a regulatory regime. This change will result in the repurposing of existing resources and an overall net increase of 10 FTE to the ML&S 2016 approved complement (5 permanent and 5 temporary full-time).|
It is anticipated that an additional $1.316 million in annual expenditures will be required to implement this new regulatory framework.
-An additional $0.400 million in one-time start-up costs will also be required for investment in IT infrastructure needed for Private Transportation Companies record keeping.
Existing Taxicab and Limousine licensing fees will also be adjusted; and new licensing fees for PTC implemented, based on the full costing review of the new regulatory framework, as conducted by a third party consultant. All fee changes have been detailed in Attachment 4 to this report.
These fee changes as reflected in the table below will result in the following:
-Reduce fees and associated revenue collected from Taxicab and Limousine licensing;
-Implement a new fee to fully recover ML&S’s administration and enforcements costs resulting from regulatory oversight of PTCs; and
-An overall increase in annual revenues of $1.316 million, which offsets increased annual costs associated with the proposed new vehicle-for-hire regulatory framework.
While the recommendation contained in this report are cost/revenue neutral on an annual basis, it is estimated that the timing of the proposed changes will result in a 2016 unfavourable variance of $580,000, plus and up to $400,000, in additional one-time start-up cost that will need to be managed through expenditure control.
-The potential 2016 variance primarily results from the reduction to Taxicab and Limousine fees retroactive to January 1st, 2016, while new fees applicable to PTCs cannot be implemented until Council approval of the new vehicle-for-hire regulatory framework, estimated to be July 1, 2016. Any delay in the implementation will increase the variance.
All costs and revenue assumptions are based on current volume estimates associated with the proposed framework. ML&S staff will monitor activity monthly and report quarterly throughout the year as part of variance reporting.
-The Executive Director of ML&S, will manage expenditures as required based on any variance identified through monthly monitoring.
-Any further adjustments to expenditures and/or revenues will be addressed as part of the 2017 Budget Process.
The Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer has reviewed this report and agrees with the financial impact information.
|(March 31, 2016) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on A New Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw to Regulate Toronto’s Ground Transportation Industry|
Attachment 1 – Jurisdictional Scan of Canadian Municipalities
Attachment 2 – Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw Screening Criteria
Attachment 3 – Amendments to Reduce Administrative Requirements Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545
Attachment 4 – Ground Transportation Review Fee Changes
Public Notice – Proposed amendments to Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VII, Taxicab Brokers, Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VIII, Owners and Drivers of Taxicabs, Chapter 545, Licensing, Article XXXIX, Owners and Drivers of Limousines and Limousine Service Companies and Chapter 441, Fees and Charges