2018 Review of Vehicle-for-Hire By-law
This Note is part of a series of Notes on key City issues to update City Council at the start of its 2018 – 2022 term.
In 2016, the City of Toronto significantly reformed taxicab regulations and created new regulations for private transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to legally operate in Toronto. There are now 15,000 taxi and limo drivers and 60,000 private transportation company drivers providing 160,000 trips a day in Toronto.
Issues have emerged as the industry grows and the new regulations are implemented. These include how to provide passengers accessible vehicles-for-hire, the collection of data on the industry’s impact on the economy and traffic, and measures to increase public safety.
A review of the Vehicle-for-Hire By-law which regulates Taxicabs, Limousines and Private Transportation Companies (Uber and Lyft) is underway. A report is expected to City Council in 2019 and will respond to outstanding directives from Council and include:
- An accessibility strategy, with recommendations on how to improve accessible service;
- Results of a congestion management study and economic impact study; and
- Recommendations for addressing issues identified during consultations, including measures to increase public safety.
Toronto’s taxicab industry has a lengthy and complex history and has been the subject of repeated reviews which have steadily increased the nature and extent of the regulatory involvement in the industry.
In September 2014, Toronto’s vehicle-for-hire market significantly changed when Uber launched UberX, connecting Torontonians with unregulated drivers and vehicles. Shortly after, there were more than 45,000 trips taken each day in vehicles that had no municipal regulatory oversight.
In 2016, City Council adopted a vehicle-for-hire bylaw that established a new municipal regulatory regime responding to new business models and changing demands of the public, while striking a balance between regulation and safety.
Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) has been working since 2016 on implementing the bylaw including establishing a dedicated enforcement team. The team responds to complaints and performs proactive inspections.
Since September 2016, the enforcement team has responded to approximately 2,000 complaints, issued over 1,200 charges against the taxicab and limousine industry and over 800 charges against private transportation companies. The team has established a positive working relationship with the vehicle-for-hire industry and will be expanding by the end of 2018 to better respond to the needs of the public and industry.
Taxi, limo and private transportation company drivers are subject to the same criminal background checks, driving record checks, insurance requirements and vehicle safety inspections. The cost to administer and enforce the vehicle-for-hire bylaw is fully recovered through licensing fees.
In addition to administering and enforcing the vehicle-for-hire bylaw, MLS initiated two rounds of a public education campaign in 2016 and 2018 to improve awareness among youth in Toronto of the regulations and to provide safety tips when using vehicle-for-hire services. The advertising campaign achieved a high relevance score, demonstrating that the campaign successfully reached its target audience of youth.
Actions or Plans
In June 2018, Licensing and Standards Committee adopted a work plan for the review of the vehicle-for-hire by-law. Leading up to the launch of the work plan, stakeholders identified the following issues for the review to consider; the cost to train and provide accessible taxicab service; the constraints of the stretch-to-sedan ratio for limousines; and the economic impact of private transportation companies.
The vehicle-for-hire review will include comprehensive research, divisional partnerships and broad stakeholder and public engagement. To achieve this, MLS has developed a four-phase plan beginning in summer 2018. The plan includes:
- Phase 1: Public consultations and launching studies – Q3 and Q4 2018
- Phase 2: Executing studies and internal research – Q4 2018 and Q1 2019
- Phase 3: Final analysis – Q1 2019
- Phase 4: Report to committee – Q2 2019
|June 2018||Licensing and Standards Committee adopted a Work Plan for the Review of Chapter 546, Vehicles-for-Hire|
|May 2016||Council adopted A New Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw to Regulate Toronto’s Ground Transportation Industry|
|February 2014||Council adopted The Taxicab Industry Review – Final Report|