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Final Report of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry

The Emergency and Protective Services Committee recommends:

(1)the adoption of the recommendations of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry, as outlined in the report (October 28, 1998) from the City Clerk, with the following additional amendments:

(a)all current owners and licensees and all transferees of licenses be reminded that the taxi licenses are the exclusive property of the City of Toronto, as currently set out in Licensing By-law No. 20-85;

(b)Recommendation No. (10) (b) be amended by deleting the words "one model year old" and replacing them with the words "two model years old";

(c)Recommendation No. (14) be amended as follows:

(i)that the training program referred to in Section (c) include training to observe, report and respond appropriately to incidents that endanger public safety and security in consultation with the "Taxis on Patrol" Program;

(ii)that Section (e) be amended by adding the words "or newer" after the words "operates a vehicle that by year is one model year old"; and

(iii)by adding thereto the transferability of the plates to a surviving spouse;

(d)Recommendation No. (16) be deleted, i.e.:

"(16)A Designated Ambassador Cab may abandon its Ambassador Cab Designation, and continue to operate as a Standard Licensed Taxicab;";

(e)Recommendations No. (25) be amended by adding thereto the following additional recommendation:

"(vii)Training to observe, report and respond appropriately to incidents that endanger public safety and security, in consultation with the 'Taxis on Patrol' Program.";

(f)Recommendations No. (26) be amended as follows:

(i)that staff of Toronto Licensing and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer immediately begin working with community colleges and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to establish a flexible time, comprehensive taxi driver education and training program that will include the components outlined in Recommendation No. 26;

(ii)that this training program be implemented for 1999;

(iii)that all license renewals after the year 2003, or five years after the training program has been implemented, be contingent on the successful completion of these courses;

(iv)that all new recipients of City issued licenses be required to have completed the aforementioned training program; and

(v) by adding thereto the following additional recommendation:

"(xiv)Training to observe, report and respond appropriately to incidents that endanger public safety and security, in consultation with the 'Taxis on Patrol' Program.";

(g)Recommendation No. (26) (viii) be amended to read:

"(viii)Sensitivity training to include all aspects of sensitivity, i.e. Race, Religion, Sex, etc.;"

(h)Recommendation No. (31) be amended as follows:

(i)by inserting the words "or newer" after the words "Ambassador Class Taxicab licensees must provide a vehicle that by year, is one model year old"; and

(ii)to provide that a vehicle can come into service as a taxi at two model years old or newer;

(i)Recommendation No. (32) be amended as follows:

(i)by inserting the words "or newer" after the words "Grandfathered licensees by the year 2003, provide a vehicle that by year, is one model year old"; and

(ii)to provide that the age that a vehicle can come into service as a taxi for grandfathered licensees be amended from "one model year old or newer by the year 2003" to "two model years old or newer by the year 2000 and beyond"; and

(2)Council adopt a firm commitment to having an annual review of this issue by the appropriate City staff and the City Auditor and that reports thereon be submitted to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee and Council.

The Emergency and Protective Services Committee reports, for the information of Council, having:

(a)requested the Chair of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry to sponsor informal discussions with taxi owners, union representatives and taxi drivers to make recommendations that will fine tune the Task Force's proposal and to submit same to Council when this matter is considered;

(b)requested the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services to report to Council when it considers this matter on November 25, 1998, on the following:

(i)that Recommendation No. (13) be amended to provide the Ambassador Taxicab License holders with a mechanism to have the opportunity to approach the Emergency and Protective Services Committee or Toronto Licensing to deal with situations of hardships, i.e. sickness or long term disability;

(ii)on the structure of the training programs so that drivers can participate in their off-duty hours;

(iii)on a comment made by a couple of the deputants that the supply of drivers to the industry should be limited;

(c)referred the following motions to the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services for a report thereon to Council when this matter is considered on November 25, 1998:

(i)Moved by Councillor Moscoe:

"That the number of new plates issued for the first year be in accordance with the Coopers and Lybrand report (i.e. 233).";

(ii)Moved by Councillor Giansante:

"That the recommendations of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry be amended to provide for the following amendments, additions and deletions to the report (October 7, 1998) from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services:

(1)Recommendation No. (2) be received;

(2)That all reference to "Standard Licenses" be deleted and be referred to as existing licenses;

(3)Recommendation No. (3) be amended to include an extra bullet in the Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights that "every customer has a right to 24 hour service".

(4)Recommendation No. (10) be amended by:

(a)deleting the word "licenses" and replacing it with the word "designation"; and

(b)deleting section (b) and replacing it with the following:

"(b)operate a vehicle that by year one is no more than three model years old at the time it enters service as a taxicab and that is replaced at the end of its fifth model year.";

(5)Recommendation No. (11) be deleted and replaced with the following:

"(11)New taxicab licenses shall be issued to an eligible person at a rate not to exceed 233 licenses in year one and 100 licenses annually thereafter.";

(6)Recommendation No. (13) be deleted and replaced with the following:

"(13)The new taxicab licenses shall:

(a)be driven by the license holder, who must register with a dispatch service and the license holder be allowed to hire two alternate drivers;

(b)be permitted to be transferred after a five-year probationary period; and

(c)be permitted to be leased after a five-year probationary period.";

(7)Recommendation No. (14) be amended as follows:

(a)Part (a) be deleted;

(b)Part (b) be deleted and replaced with the following:

"existing licenses may be transferred only to persons holding a valid Toronto taxicab drivers license, a designated agent's license or in the event of death, only to a spouse.";

(c)Part (c) be amended by adding at the end of the third bullet after the word Licensing "and be enrolled in the new Ambassador Training Program";

(d)Part (d) be amended by deleting the words "all Standard License owners" and replacing them with the words "all existing license owners and/or licensed agents";

(e)Part (e) be deleted and replaced with the following:

"(e)a taxicab operating with an existing license may be designated as an Ambassador Taxicab where the existing license holders and/or operators:

-successfully completes the Advanced Ambassador Taxi training course;

-operates a vehicle that by year one is three model years old at the time it enters service as a taxicab and that is replaced at the end of its fifth model year.";

(8)Recommendations Nos. (15) and (16) be deleted;

(9)Recommendation No. (18) be referred to the Taxicab Advisory Committee;

(10)Recommendation No. (28) be amended to read "at a ratio 95 to 5 from the driver's list and the owner's list as currently provided for in the By-law.";

(11)Recommendation No. (31) be deleted and replaced with the following:

"Ambassador Taxicab owners and/or agents must provide a vehicle that by year one is three model years old or less and must be replaced by five model years old as defined in the description of motor vehicle portion of the current Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications passenger motor vehicle permit for any vehicle.";

(12)the first part of Recommendation No. (32) be amended to read as follows:

"(32)All licensees by the year 2003 provide a vehicle that by year is three model years old or less and must be replaced after five model years old as defined in the description of motor vehicle portion of the current Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications passenger motor vehicle permit for any vehicle (1999 model or newer) and that the upgrade in vehicle quality be phased-in as follows:";

(13)That the following new recommendations be added:

"(51)Designated agents' licenses be issued to persons who:

(a)manage one or more plates for owners and are active in the taxi industry; and

(b)successfully complete a certified training course for agents, established by the Taxicab Advisory Committee;

(52)Designated agent license holders or owners without agents have full accountability for the quality of vehicles and drivers under the By-law;

(53)That existing plate owners, who have been in the taxi industry for at least 20 years, be exempted from taking the three month course provided that they successfully complete a course to be designed by the Taxicab Advisory Committee;

(54)That all spouses who have inherited a taxicab license plate from former active owners shall be exempt from taking the course, with the proviso that spouses have to use a designated agent to qualify;

(55)That staff create a mechanism to allow the vehicle to be registered to a plate owner but the purchaser of the vehicle be the actual owner;

(56)Upon successful completion of the requirements, the taxicab license holder shall be entitled to display a distinguishable Ambassador Taxicab insignia in the taxicab, including a decal and vehicle stripe, visible to potential passengers; and

(57)That the Ambassador Training Program be split into two parts and that applicants be permitted up to two years to complete both parts of the course.";

(iii)Moved by Councillor Balkissoon:

"That Recommendation No. (14), Sections (a) and (b), be amended to provide that the period of "two years" be replaced with "five years"; and

(iv)Moved by Councillor Fotinos:

"That:

(1)all owners, drivers and designated agents be required to enroll in these courses within 2 years of the time that they are offered;

(2)Toronto Licensing issue the number of taxi licenses recommended by the Coopers and Lybrand formula (i.e. 233) over the next two years and thereafter licenses be issued by a formula to be developed by the Taxicab Advisory Committee and Council;

(3)after January 1, 2003, the sale or transfer of taxi licenses be restricted to spouses or to persons who have successfully completed the training course and who will drive the vehicle for five years; and

(4)the issue of the proposed Ambassador Cabs be referred to the Taxicab Advisory Committee for further consideration."

The Emergency and Protective Services Committee submits the following report (October 28, 1998) from the City Clerk:

Recommendations:

The Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry on October 27, 1998, recommended to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee and Council that the report (October 7, 1998) from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services be adopted subject to the following amendments:

(1)that Recommendation No. 17 contained therein be struck out and replaced with the following:

"(17)The Province of Ontario be requested to make the required changes to provincial legislation to provide municipalities with the legislative ability to regulate taxi plate leasing including the ability to set maximum lease rates and institute conditions for lease cancellations.";

(2)that a provision be added to the Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights that disabled riders have a right to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect for their disabilities;

(3)that the training programs include how to assist those with disabilities; and

(4)that this issue be reviewed after these recommendations have been in effect for a three year period and that the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry be reconvened at that time to make further recommendations.

The Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry also reports having:

(a)referred to the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services for a report thereon to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee the following:

(i)that 10 per cent of the new ambassador licences be accessible to the disabled;

(ii)staff be requested to consider additional incentives to the establishment of accessible taxis;

(iii)the feasibility of converting all plates to ambassador plates over a 10-year period; and

(iv)how brokerages can be made to accept greater responsibility and accountability for taxis within their brokerages;

(b)requested the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services to forward copies of the Toronto Star articles by Peter Cheney, and the editorials from the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen on this issue, to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee to be reprinted and included on the agenda for its meeting to be held on November 3, 1998;

(c)referred the following motion to the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services for a report thereon to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee:

"Moved by Councillor Fotinos that:

(1)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services and the Chief Administrative Officer be requested to immediately begin working with community colleges and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to establish a flexible time, comprehensive taxi driver education and training program that will include the components outlined in Recommendation No. 26 of the report from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services;

(2)this training program be implemented for 1999;

(3)all owners, drivers and designated agents be required to enroll in these courses within two years of the time that they are offered;

(4)all licence renewals after the year 2001, or three years after the training program has been implemented, be contingent on the successful completion of these courses;

(5)Toronto Licensing issue the number of taxi licences recommended by the Coopers and Lybrand formula (i.e. 233) over the next two years;

(6)all new recipients of City issued licences be required to have completed the aforementioned training program;

(7)after January 1, 2001, the sale or transfer of taxi licences be restricted to persons who have successfully completed the training course and who will be able to demonstrate that they are active in the taxi industry and that their primary source of income is derived from the taxi business; and

(8)the issue of the proposed Ambassador Taxicabs be referred to the Taxicab Advisory Committee for further consideration."; and

(d)received all the communications and submissions on this issue.

Background:

The Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry had before it the following report and communications:

(i)(October 7, 1998) from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services forwarding a report which presents an overview of the review of the Toronto Taxicab Industry as conducted by the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry and submitting recommendations in regard thereto;

(ii)(June 23, 1998) City Clerk advising that at a joint meeting held on June 22, 1998, the Metropolitan Cycling and Pedestrian Committee, the Toronto City Cycling Committee and the North York Cycling and Pedestrian Committee recommended to the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry the adoption of the following recommendations of the joint Education, Safety and Security Sub-Committee and requested that they be considered with all of the other recommendations respecting the review of the Toronto taxi industry and included in the Task Force's final report and recommendations to City Council:

(1)that the City of Toronto lobby the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario to designate a special classification of driver's license for taxicab drivers;

(2)that, until such time as Recommendation No. (1) is in place, the City of Toronto assess the competence of its taxicab drivers through the licensing program; and

(3)that the Toronto Licensing Commission significantly expand the road safety component of the taxicab driver training program to include a minimum of one day's training spent on cycling and pedestrian safety issues;

(iii)(July 9, 1998) Mr. Eugene W. Meikle, President, Toronto Taxi Drivers Association, complimenting the Task Force for the "round table" talks held on July 6, 1998, and expressing the hope that such sessions would become mandatory in the future;

(iv)(July 9, 1998) Councillor Howard Moscoe, North York Spadina, recommending that, in the event the Toronto Taxi Reform package is successfully challenged in the courts, the City immediately:

(A)terminate all payments made under the reform package (this be disclosed to plate holders prior to their accepting the package);

(B)the City immediately restrict the leasing of plates by:

(1)grandfathering all existing taxi plates;

(2)begin immediately issuing a new category of taxi plates called the "New Toronto Taxi Plate";

(3)issuing a new plate to any individual who meets and agrees to all of the following conditions:

(a)is qualified to drive a taxi by virtue of holding a valid Toronto Licensing Commission taxi driver's licence;

(b)agrees to affix such plate to a current model year car as approved by the Commission;

(c)agrees to remove that car from taxi service after it has operated as a taxi for no longer than five years;

(d)is the principle driver of this vehicle and operates it on an ongoing basis; and

(e)understands that the "New Toronto Taxi Plate" is non transferable, remains the property of the Toronto Licensing Commission and must be returned to the Toronto Licensing Commission if any of these conditions are not in effect; and

(C)Amend By-law No. 20-85 accordingly;

(v)(July 13, 1998) Councillor John Adams, Midtown, forwarding correspondence from Mr. Garfield Mahood, Toronto, expressing his concerns regarding the practices of Toronto's taxicabs and the need for an overhaul of the industry;

(vi)(July 20, 1998) Mr. Ian Outerbridge, Solicitor, on behalf of the Toronto Taxi Drivers Association, addressed to the Premier of Ontario presenting information with regard to the Association's plan of action for the taxicab industry entitled Plan 2001 which calls for the abolition of taxicab license leasing and the introduction of a system of taxicab ownership similar to the system used in London, England;

(vii)(July 22, 1998) Mr. Ian Allaby, Toronto, expressing concerns with regard to the practices of designated agents;

(viii)(July 21, 1998) Mr. Harold J. Mitchell, Toronto, expressing concerns with regard to the existing taxi situation particularly as it relates to riders in wheel chairs;

(ix)(August 17, 1998) Mr. Jim Bell, Toronto Taxi Alliance, forwarding suggestions for improving enforcement of the by-law related to unlicensed drivers and vehicles in the taxicab industry;

(x)(August 26, 1998) Mr. Michael Khlaif, Scarborough, a cab owner-driver, addressed to Mayor Lastman, providing suggestions on this issue;

(xi)(October 22, 1998) Mr. Vincent Rodo, General Secretary, Toronto Transit Commission, advising that the Commission on October 21, 1998, approved the following recommendations:

"1.Requesting the Taxi Industry and Toronto Licensing Commission to assist in making more accessible taxis available, in addition to those under contract for Wheel-Trans service;

2.Requesting the Toronto Licensing Commission to review licensing fees or possible incentives to help increase the number of accessible taxis;

3.Recommending to the Toronto Licensing Commission that they require a certain percentage of licenses to be for accessible taxis or to create a sub-class of the proposed "Ambassador" Class; and

4.Forwarding the foregoing motions and the deputation to the Task Force to the Taxi Industry for consideration when it reviews the final report on the Taxi Industry."; and

(xii)(October 1998) Mr. Nabil Nasser expressing concerns with regard to the recommended changes to the taxi industry and requesting that change be made slowly but decisively as the industry is in such turmoil that it will not survive the massive reforms recommended in the Task Force report.

_______

The following persons appeared before the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry in connection with the foregoing matter:

-Mr. Ross Dunsmore, Chair, Toronto Board of Trade;

-Mr. Rod Seiling, Greater Toronto Hotel Association;

-Mr. Andrew Reti, Toronto Taxicab Owners and Operators Association, Thornhill, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Al Moore, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Ms. Janet Youdell, Ontario March of Dimes, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Ms. Janice Tait, Transportation Action Now, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Ms. Gail Souter, General Manager, Toronto Taxi Alliance, c/o Beck Taxi, Toronto, and filed a written submission with Mr. Jim Bell;

.Mr. Larry Labovitch, Kingsboro Taxi, Toronto;

-Mr. George Bartsiocas, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. William Brown, O.M.C., Chair, Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation, Toronto Transit Commission, Scarborough;

-Mr. Paul Forhan, Independent Cab Owners' Co-operative Inc., Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Peter Zahakos, c/o Co-op Taxi Associates Committee, Etobicoke, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Spiros Bastas, Maple Leaf Taxi, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Nabil Charbel, Staff Representative, Ontario Taxi Union, Mississauga, and filed a written submission;

-Mrs. Wilma Walsh, Mississauga;

-Mr. Afhin Zaboli, Toronto;

-Mr. Asafo Addai, Brampton;

-Mr. Orhan Aybars, Toronto;

-Mr. Jim Bell, General Manager, Diamond Taxicab Association (Toronto) Limited, Toronto;

-Mr. Boniface Banye, Toronto;

-Mr. Eugene Meikle, President, Toronto Taxi Drivers Association, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Michael Khlaif, Toronto;

-Ms. Aileen Cummins, Toronto;

-Mr. Ian Allaby, Communications Director, Toronto Taxi Drivers' Association, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Stanley Steiner, Taxicab Consulting Services, North York, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Kuldip Singh, Brampton;

-Mohammad Reza, Toronto;

-Mr. Lou Racz, Toronto;

-Mahmoud Heydari, Toronto;

-Mr. Stefano Fedele, Brampton, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. George Witte, Toronto;

-Mr. Suki Dhillan, Toronto;

-Mr. Joel Barr, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Hillel Gudas, Toronto;

-Mr. Michael J. Webster, Toronto;

-Mr. Martin Ceh, Toronto;

-Mrs. Helen Silver, Toronto;

-Mr. Dave Thomas, Toronto;

-Mr. Mohamud Omar, Toronto;

-Mr. Robert Stewart, Scarborough;

-Mr. Hubert Anderson, Toronto;

-Mr. Carlton Keane, Toronto;

-Mr. Michael Carman, Thornhill;

-Mr. Ahmet Gulkan, Brampton;

-Mr. Ali Shariff, Toronto;

-Mr. Nasser Moradmand, Toronto;

-Mr. Hubert Leach, Toronto; and

-Mr. Larry Huang, Toronto.

(Report dated October 7, 1998, addressed to the

Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry from the

Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services)

Purpose:

This report presents an overview of the review of the Toronto Taxicab Industry as conducted by the Toronto Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry. As such, the report serves as the executive summary to the attached detailed report entitled "Report to Review the Toronto Taxi Industry", that provides the analysis to support the recommended reforms.

This executive summary addresses the extent of research and analyses conducted, describes the study methodology, provides an overview of the feedback received through deputations, submissions and workshops, and describes the conclusions and recommendations for reforms to the taxi industry.

Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:

There are operating cost implications to Toronto Licensing due to changes in administrative procedures and resources that result from this study. Specifically, a requirement for ten additional enforcement staff is identified and requires an increase in the amount of approximately $800,000.00 for staff and equipment, in Toronto Licensing's 1999 operating budget. Once these recommendations are implemented, it is expected that the quality of the taxicab industry will improve and demand for enforcement will decline. Other implications related to increased training and complaints handling requirements will become evident as the recommendations are implemented and will impact future budgets in the year 2000 and beyond. It is recommended that these impacts be reported to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee and Council within six months of approval of this report.

The current practice requires Toronto Licensing to recover operating costs through annual licensing fees allocated proportionately to each industry that it regulates. The changes recommended in this report are for the benefit of taxi licensees and it is therefore recommended that any budget increase be offset by an increase to the license fees paid by taxi service licensees. Recognizing the timing of this report, the proposed improvements to the taxicab industry will be additional to the license fees 1999 taxicab license fees already approved by Council at its meeting on October 1 and 2, 1998, as contained in Clause No. 2 of Report No. 9 of the Emergency and Protective Services Committee. This approval provides for taxicab licenses to be issued for a period of eight months in 1999. Therefore, impacts on Licensing fees that result from the recommendations in this report can be incorporated into the calculations for the next license period for taxicab license.

The recommended reforms also impact the current market value of taxicab licenses, lease rates for taxicabs, and income for drivers. These changes are designed to be implemented gradually so that the impact on individuals can be appropriately managed. These changes are necessary and will serve to benefit the Toronto public and visitors and the taxi industry overall.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that:

(1)the Task Force approve the attached Report to Review the Taxi Industry and forward it to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee and Council for approval;

(2)the recommendations for reform be approved as a package recognizing the interrelationship of all initiatives and that all the changes are necessary to improve Toronto's taxi service in accordance with the goals of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry;

With respect to customer service:

(3)to adopt a new Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights for all Toronto taxicabs, to be displayed on the back of the passenger seat, easily visible to passengers, to inform that Taxicab passengers have a right to:

-A professional driver who:

-is licensed and knowledgeable;

-knows the major routes and destinations in the City of Toronto;

-speaks and understands English;

-is courteous and provides assistance;

-provides a safe ride;

-knows and obeys the by-laws and all traffic laws;

-offers a silent ride if desired;

-Direct the driver on the route to be taken;

-A quality taxicab:

-in good mechanical and physical condition;

-with a clean passenger area and trunk;

-air-conditioned or heated on demand;

-with easy access to seatbelts;

-with a smoke-free environment;

-equipped with a meter that issues receipts noting the date and time of the trip, distance, taxicab license number, and the fare charged;

-An effective customer complaints process;

-Reduce the tip if the above services are not provided;

(4)in order to implement recommendation number (3), the following steps be taken to give effect thereto;

(5)all Toronto taxicabs be equipped with a receipt machine that provides the passenger with a receipt noting the date and time of the trip, length of the trip, registered number of the taxicab, the fare charged, and the Toronto taxicab customer service telephone number;

(6)information from the receipt equipment be made available to Toronto Licensing as required, for information, training, and review purposes;

(7)Toronto Licensing adopt the easily remembered customer service number 1-877-TO-TAXIS;

(8)Toronto Licensing develop a plan respecting steps to be taken to augment the current customer complaints process with a marketing plan and resolution process and report back to Emergency and Protective Services Committee within six months to identify any impact with respect to resources to provide for:

-taxicabs to boldly display the customer service number, posted on the Taxicab Passenger's Bill of Rights, with the accompanying plate number and driver's name posted alongside the advertisement;

-all taxicabs to display the customer service number with a safe driving message on the back of the taxicab, visible to other vehicles;

-Customers to have the option to file an on-line complaint whereby personal information, as well as an account of the incident, can be filed;

-the customer with the choice of either filing a complaint against a driver through an industry-wide organization such as the Taxicab Advisory Committee, or attending a short hearing with the regulatory authority;

-Toronto Licensing to respond in writing within 7 days to the customer to inform them of actions to be taken;

-Toronto Licensing to resolve complaints within 90 days and advise customers in writing respecting the outcome of the investigations;

-The industry to assume a greater role in the self-management of their trade;

With respect to industry structure:

(9)Council endorse the principle that Toronto is a world class city and that as ambassadors for a world class city, Ambassador Taxicabs must provide:

-High quality driving skills;

-High quality customer service skills;

-High quality vehicles;

(10)Ambassador Taxicab licenses be issued to persons who:

(a)successfully complete the Advanced Ambassador Taxi training course, with access to the training program as defined by recommendations 26-30, below;

(b)operate a vehicle that by year is one model old at the time it enters service as taxicab and that is replaced at the end of its fifth model year;

(11)Ambassador Taxicab licenses shall be issued to eligible person as defined in a rate not to exceed 300 licenses annually;

(12)a vehicle that is converted to natural gas or a taxicab meeting criteria for barrier free accessibility may be eligible for a two-year extension;

(13)Ambassador Taxicab licenses shall:

(a)be driven by the License holder;

(b)not be transferred;

(c)not be leased;

(d)entitle the Taxicab to display a distinguishable Ambassador Taxicab insignia, including a decal and vehicle stripe, visible to potential passengers;

(e)entitle the Taxicab to pick-up passengers at Pearson International Airport, if agreements can be reached with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority;

(14)the existing 3,480 taxicab licenses be grandfathered and the characteristics of the standard taxicab licenses (Standard Licenses) include:

-(a)transferability of Standard Licenses as currently provided for under By-law 20-85 for a period of two years;

-(b)after two years, Standard Licenses may be transferred only to persons holding a valid Toronto taxicab drivers license who may:

-lease the taxicab;

-drive the taxicab; or

-transfer to a person holding a valid taxicab drivers license;

(c)leasing of taxicabs as currently provided for under By-law 20-85 is continued, with the following amendments:

-a lessee may be party to only one taxicab lease agreement at any one time, and the lessee must drive the taxicab on a full-time basis;

-a lessee can hire up to three alternate drivers;

-New taxicab drivers who drive standard taxicabs, must successfully complete the existing three week training program offered by Toronto Licensing;

(d)all Standard License owners must participate in the industry by:

-personally attending all three annually scheduled inspections;

-file annual documents in person at Toronto Licensing;

-attend all hearings relating to that owner's license or vehicle in person;

(e)a taxicab operating with a Standard License may be designated as an Ambassador Class Taxicab where the Standard License holder:

-successfully completes the Advanced Ambassador Taxi training course;

-operates a vehicle that by year is one model year old at the time it enters service as a taxicab and that is replaced at the end of its fifth model year;

(15)a taxicab operating with a Standard License that is designated as an Ambassador Taxicab ("Designated Ambassador Cab"):

(a)shall be driven by the License holder;

(b)shall not be transferred;

(c)shall not be leased;

(d)shall entitle the Taxicab to display a distinguishable Ambassador Taxicab insignia, including a decal and vehicle stripe, visible to potential passengers;

(e)shall entitle the Taxicab to pick-up passengers at Pearson International Airport, if agreements can be reached with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority;

(16)a Designated Ambassador Cab may abandon its Ambassador Cab Designation, and continue to operate as a Standard Licensed Taxicab;

(17)Toronto Licensing investigate with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of the Province of Ontario, the possibility for the City of Toronto to set limits on lease rates and instituting conditions for lease cancellations;

With respect to industry responsibilities:

(18)Council endorse the concept of self-management and work to create the conditions which will permit it to be implemented over time;

(19)Council endorse the continuation of the Taxicab Advisory Committee (TAC);

(20)the TAC be structured in such a way to develop the industry capacity for self-management;

(21)the structure be amended to include: elected representation from taxi drivers, elected representation from taxicab license owners, elected representation from industry managers including designated agents and brokerages; and that there be ex-officio representatives of Toronto Licensing, the Board of Trade, the Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Province of Ontario, the proposed Greater Toronto Services Board, and the Greater Toronto Marketing Association;

(22)the mandate of the TAC include:

-Drivers code of ethics;

-Driver safety and property loss and the possible assistance that can be offered by the Toronto Police Service in this regard;

-Reasonable accessibility to taxicab transportation for the disabled;

-Performance reviews and incentives;

_Passenger complaints handling;

-Study and make recommendations to Council on the applicability of self-management to the needs of the industry;

(23)the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) address industry self-management and the issues identified in recommendations 20-21 above, in the development of the terms of reference for the Taxicab Advisory Committee;

With respect to training:

(24)Toronto Licensing develop and provide a five-day, taxicab license owner and designated agents certification course that must be taken annually by all taxicab license owners and designated agents and addresses at a minimum:

(i)changes in By-law 20-85 or other relevant legislation;

(ii)Toronto tourism information;

(iii)Performance statistics respecting the taxicab industry;

(iv)Workshop to discuss potential improvements to the taxicab industry;

(25)Toronto Licensing develop and provide a three-day, taxicab driver retraining program that must be taken every two years by all taxicab drivers that addresses at a minimum:

(i)changes in By-law 20-85 or other relevant legislation;

(ii)Toronto tourism information;

(iii)Performance statistics respecting the taxicab industry;

(iv)Workshop to discuss potential improvements to the taxicab industry;

(v)Defensive and rough weather driving skills including an in-car driving test;

(vi)Customer service skills;

(26)Toronto Licensing, in accordance with City procedures, prepare terms of reference to contract out to colleges or other appropriate training institutions, the development and provision of an up to three-month, advanced driver training program for the new Ambassador Taxicabs, that addresses at a minimum:

(i)Toronto tourism;

(ii)Importance of taxicab drivers to serve as ambassadors to Toronto;

(iii)By-law 20-85 and other relevant legislation;

(iv)Toronto geography and road network;

(v)Taxicab meter/trip records;

(vi)Services for passengers with disabilities;

(vii)Communications and professionalism;

(viii)Cultural and gender sensitivity;

(ix)Passenger and driver safety;

(x)Financial planning;

(xi)Small business practices;

(xii)CPR and first aid;

(xiii)Defensive and rough weather driving skills including in-car testing;

(27)Toronto Licensing in consultation with the City Solicitor, report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee on the necessary amendments to the By-law to change the purpose of the current drivers list and owners list to a mechanism to determine who has access to the advanced Ambassador Class training for the purposes of obtaining a license;

(28)access to the Ambassador Class training program for the purpose of obtaining a license, should continue at ratio one to one from the owners list and drivers list, as currently provided for in the By-law;

(29)when an individual's name reaches the top of the list, they may:

(i)Elect to take the training;

(ii)Defer their training under the following provisions:

-Each individual may only defer two times;

-Each individual must notify Toronto Licensing that they elect to defer training to the next available year or to the bottom of the list;

(30)drivers and owners from the current list who take the course and do not pass, be given one opportunity to add their name to the bottom of the list and retake the training program;

With respect to taxicab quality:

(31)Ambassador Class Taxicab licensees must provide a vehicle that by year, is one model year old and must be replaced by five model years old as defined in the description of motor vehicle portion of the current Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications passenger motor vehicle permit for any vehicle;

(32)Grandfathered licensees by the year 2003, provide a vehicle that by year, is one model year old and must be replaced by five model years old as defined in the description of motor vehicle portion of the current Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications passenger motor vehicle permit for any vehicle (1999 model or newer) and that the upgrade in vehicle quality be phased-in as follows:

(i)In the year 1999, no motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than eight years old shall be used as a taxicab by the time of the second mechanical inspection of such taxicab (1992 model or newer); and no motor vehicle used as a taxicab may be replaced by a motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than three years old;

(ii)In the year 2000, no motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than seven years old shall be used as a taxicab by the time of the second mechanical inspection of such taxicab (1994 model or newer); and no motor vehicle used as a taxicab may be replaced by a motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than two years old;

(iii)In the year 2001, no motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than six years old shall be used as a taxicab by the time of the second mechanical inspection of such taxicab (1996 model or newer); and no motor vehicle used as a taxicab may be replaced by a motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than two years old;

(iv)In the year 2002, no motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than five years old shall be used as a taxicab by the time of the second mechanical inspection of such taxicab (1998 model or newer); and no motor vehicle used as a taxicab may be replaced by a motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than two years old;

(v)In the year 2003, no motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than five years old shall be used as a taxicab by the time of the second mechanical inspection of such taxicab (1999 model or newer); and no motor vehicle used as a taxicab may be replaced by a motor vehicle that, by model year, is more than one year old; and

(vi)a vehicle that is converted to natural gas or a taxicab converted for barrier-free accessibility is subject to a two-year extension to the retirement date;

With respect to regulation and enforcement:

(33)Toronto Licensing increase the commitment to enforcement of the taxicab industry by 25 per cent, requiring additional enforcement staff of ten full-time equivalents;

(34)the appropriate adjustment for staff and equipment, reported by Licensing to be $800,000.00, be made to the 1999 operating Licensing budget submission and the increase in license fees be calculated for the next license renewal period;

(35)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee and Council on the resource and budget implications respecting other recommendations in this report related to training requirements and the customer complaints process;

(36)Toronto Licensing in consultation with the City Solicitor report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee, on recommendations for changes to By-law 20-85 or other legislation to enhance enforcement of licensing By-law offences within the taxicab industry;

(37)Toronto Licensing, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transportation of the Province of Ontario, develop and seek appropriate approval for a coordinated taxicab license identification program to provide:

(i)Ontario license plates attached to taxicabs identified as such by a vertical "TAXI" wordmark that clearly identifies the vehicle as a taxicab;

(ii)a coordinated numbering system that provides for matching numbers for Ontario License plates and Toronto taxicab plates;

(38)Toronto Licensing investigate the possibility of identifying limousines by a vertical "LIVERY" wordmark on the Ontario license plate that clearly identifies the vehicle as a limousine;

(39)Toronto Licensing work with the Ministry of Transportation of the Province of Ontario to develop an inspection program to provide regular taxicab safety blitzes;

(40)the Taxicab Advisory Committee and Toronto Licensing work with the Toronto hotel industry to develop guidelines to ensure that hotel doormen hail only Toronto licensed taxicabs for guests;

(41)Toronto Licensing work with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of the Province of Ontario to seek amendments to the Municipal Act to remove the exemption for non-Toronto, Airport plated taxicabs and limousines that currently permits them to pick up fares within the boundaries of the City of Toronto;

(42)Toronto Licensing enter into discussions with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to explore initiatives that would allow Toronto Ambassador Class Taxicabs to pick up passengers from Pearson International Airport;

(43)Toronto Licensing in consultation with the City Solicitor seek to amend By-law 20-85, to license designated agents as managers, subject to duties and obligations to be developed by Toronto Licensing;

(44)this report be referred to the Licensing Commission (Licensing Tribunal) for information;

(45)in the interest of public safety, the City Solicitor and Toronto Licensing staff report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee on possible By-law amendments to limit the number of hours that taxicab drivers can drive a cab to a maximum of 60 hours over seven consecutive days and also to require taxicab drivers to maintain a daily log, documenting hours worked, that must be provided to Toronto Licensing for review upon request;

(46)Toronto Licensing in consultation with the City Solicitor amend the By-law to provide for an evening surcharge, in the amount of $2.00 per trip, be introduced between the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.;

(47)Toronto Licensing discuss the possibility of amending the Municipal Act with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of the Province of Ontario to allow for the introduction of minimum penalties for offences under By-law 20-85, and report back to the Emergency and Protection Services Committee on actions that can be taken;

With respect to implementation:

(48)Toronto Licensing develop an implementation plan that defines the schedule for change and includes:

(i)Implementation and management plan for each recommendation requiring action by Toronto Licensing;

(ii)provisions for performance review to measure the success of these initiatives;

(iii)a communications plan to inform stakeholders of the reforms and the status of implementation;

(49)this report be referred to the City Solicitor for the purpose of developing specific instructions to amend By-law 20-85, as required by these recommendations; and

(50)the appropriate City Officials be authorized and directed to take the necessary action to give effect thereto.

Council Reference/Background/History:

At its meeting on April 16, 1998, by adoption of Clause No. 2 of Report No. 3 of the Emergency and Protective Services Committee, Council established a Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry. The creation of this Task Force was the culmination of a number of recent articles in the media and the concerns expressed by the public, taxicab owners and drivers, Toronto Licensing, the Board of Trade and the tourism industry respecting the state of the taxi industry in Toronto.

These concerns include:

-continued deterioration of the quality, safety, and reliability of taxicabs that do not provide adequate service to the public or a positive image for the City of Toronto;

-lack of priority to customer service that reflects poorly on the taxicab industry and the City of Toronto;

-that the characteristics of taxi licenses has evolved the industry structure to include an increased number of participants for individual licenses that splits potential revenues more extremely than can be supported by the industry;

-inflated values of taxicab licenses that provide incentives for absentee and passive investors to own taxicab licenses without investing or participating in the industry; and

-that the current situation hampers the ability for many drivers to earn a fair wage.

Council approved the following guiding principles for the Task Force:

-the general public has the right to expect and demand clean, safe taxicabs;

-the general public has the right to expect and demand courteous, knowledgeable and experienced drivers;

drivers have the right to expect and demand a fair return for their labour;

-plate holders have the right to expect and demand a fair return for their investment; and

-the City has the right to expect and demand that its by-law will be obeyed.

At its meeting on May 11, 1998, the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry adopted the report entitled "Work Plan for the Task Force". The report described the resources, tasks and timelines involved in reviewing the Toronto taxi industry, consulting with stakeholders, and developing recommendations. The work plan consists of three phases, namely: research and scoping of issues, analysis and consultation, and report and recommendations.

At its meeting on June 22, 1998, the Task Force adopted the report entitled "Status of the Review of the Toronto Taxi Industry" for information. The report provided a summary of the deputations received from stakeholders and presented the status of the review of the taxicab industry, including an overview of issues and a summary of possible solutions. It addressed the structure for the workshops held on July 6, 1998, that were designed to gain feedback from various participants in the Toronto taxicab industry. The report also more clearly defined the goals of the Task Force, namely to ensure that the Toronto Taxicab industry:

- provides safe and secure service to the public;

- offers high quality customer service in clean, comfortable taxis;

- employs courteous, knowledgeable and experienced drivers; and

- permits people who work in the system to share fairly in the costs and benefits.

Comments and/or Discussion and/or Justification:

The Toronto taxicab industry needs major improvement. Too often its passengers suffer from a ride in an inferior vehicle with poor quality service. Customer complaints are common and severe, as many passengers perceive a dilapidated taxicab as an unsafe taxicab. In too many cases, this perception may be reality: at any one time, an estimated 70 taxicabs are serving the public while in dangerous and unsafe condition. Many passengers describe an intolerable lack of comfort and a complete lack of customer service. This situation is an unacceptable, negative reflection on the image of the City of Toronto as a world class city. Taxicabs must be ambassadors for our City of Toronto.

The problems of the industry have been blamed on bad or unenforceable rules in the By-law, poor enforcement of the By-law, and to the structure and temperament of the industry itself

Overcoming these problems, and providing high quality service to the customer is the goal of the this report. The 50 recommendations are organized around five points:

1.Create a Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights: to focus the industry on customer service;

2.Improve the Cabs: retire dilapidated cabs and replace with newer, quality vehicles;

3.Improve training: so that all people in the industry, owners and drivers, know what the public expects and have the skill to do the job;

4.Create Ambassador class cabs: to put greater pride of ownership behind the wheel; and

5.Strengthen Enforcement: to make sure it all happens.

Every recommendation is an integral part to an overall plan designed to improve the taxicab industry. It is critical to approve these recommendations as a package rather than piecemeal, as the expected positive impacts on the industry will not be realized by isolated measures. Some recommendations directly address the quality of vehicles and training requirements, while others address issues less obvious to the public such as regulations and structure of the industry.

The poor existing state of the industry has evolved over 30 years and no fair and reasonable reform can transform it into a customer-based service overnight. Countless studies in the past have not been implemented for various reasons or change has been ineffective. As a result, the industry continues to decline. In addition, many industry stakeholders are frustrated and demoralized, with customers paying the ultimate price with poor service.

There have been some heartening, isolated improvements in the industry in recent months. But we take them not as a comfort that the industry will self-improve and that no change is necessary, but rather as confirmation of how positive change can be. Efforts by the industry to participate in this process and introduce better quality vehicles for example, are applauded. It is evidence that the Toronto taxicab industry is determined to improve. This is a signal of support that the time for change is now to secure a successful and respected future for Toronto taxicab industry participants.

The proposals contained in this report will bring immediate, visible improvement to the taxi industry. In the first year alone, Torontonians would see the retirement of all cabs over eight model years old. That's approximately 50 per cent of the fleet upgraded in 1999, (1,738 taxicabs). By the year 2002, all Toronto taxicabs would be no more than five model years old. At the same time, continuous improvements in training for all drivers and owners would lead to discernible improvements in service and driver knowledge. These changes would have an immediate positive impact from the back seat view in a taxicab.

Industry Background:

The Taxi industry is governed by the Toronto Licensing, and By-law 20-85. A taxi may not be put on the road unless it is licensed by Toronto Licensing. Similarly, no one may drive a cab except a Toronto Licensing approved driver. The holder of a cab license may:

-drive the plate as taxi driver;

-lease the plate to a taxi driver; or

-sell the plate.

Only about 20 per cent of owners drive their own plate. About 60 per cent of drivers hire a middleman-manager, known as a "designated agent" to operate the plate on their behalf. The remaining 20 per cent lease the plate to a driver directly, without a designated agent.

The number of taxicab licenses is strictly limited. Drivers' licences have traditionally been relatively easy to obtain. This has resulted in a relative over-supply of drivers for the number of available plates. There are well over 10,000 licensed taxi-cab drivers for the 3,480 licensed taxicabs on the road in Toronto. Cabs tend to be driven in two twelve-hour shifts, so there are roughly three drivers for every possible taxi shift.

New plates are issued based on a formula which projects demand for taxi services. Toronto Licensing maintains waiting lists for owners and drivers for new plates. At present, these two lists combined are over 2,500 names long. No new taxicab licenses have been issued since 1992, although had the model been applied from the freeze in 1993 to today, 233 new licenses would have been issued.

Drivers say that the over-supply of drivers allows owners to command "take it or leave it prices" for plate leases. Owners are quick to point out they only charge what the market will bear, and that no one is forced to remain a cab driver. Many drivers claim that that they feel compelled to continue driving even if their returns are low, because they must continue to drive to keep their name on waiting list for a new plates.

The market price of owner's licenses has grown in recent years: from $49,976.00 in 1993 to $85,000.00 in 1998. Income derived from leasing provides an annual average rate of return of 13 per cent. This is a spread of 8 per cent over the returns from standard investment options, such as Canada Savings Bonds.

The Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights:

It is apparent that it is necessary to change the culture of Toronto's Taxi Industry. The focus needs to change to customer service. This can be promoted by setting clear performance standards that the City of Toronto expects in its cabs.

The Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights was a concept introduced in New York as part of the sweeping reforms brought to New York's cab industry. It has had a major effect in refocusing industry priorities and in raising consumer expectations. This report recommends the adoption of the New York Bill of Rights with minor amendments: for example, as much emphasis is put on heating as on air conditioning, given the realities of the Toronto winter.

It is believed that the Bill of Rights will be the benchmark against which developments in the industry will be tested. In that sense, it is the centrepiece of the report. All the other recommendations serve as a means of giving effect to the service standards contained within it.

Better Taxicabs:

There are not as many new cabs on the road as there used to be. In 1982 over 80 per cent of cabs were less than three years old. Now, only 20 per cent of Toronto's cabs are less than three years old.

Similarly, the retirement age of cabs is getting older. Until 1992, all cabs were retired at the end of their sixth model year. Many argued that if age extensions were permitted, then the fleet would be improved because owners would put better cars on the road. In reality, it did not work that way. In 1998, over 50 per cent of the cabs are over eight years old and maintenance violations have gone up since 1992.

On average, 2 per cent of vehicles fail their scheduled inspections and are found to be "dangerous and unsafe" That figure translates to roughly 70 taxicabs.

Of greater concern, in a recent spot check performed by Toronto Licensing, 14 out of 21 cabs inspected were removed from service as "dangerous and unsafe". Clearly, there is a problem of vehicle quality that must be addressed.

At present, cabs may be no more than three years old when they enter service, and are retired at the end of six years. They are eligible for age extensions beyond six years, however, when they can pass a mechanical inspection.

The report recommends that taxicabs be no more than one model year old when they come into service and that they be retired at the end of their fifth model year. It is recommended that these new age restrictions be phased in over five years. It is also recommended that age extensions be made available for two years where the vehicle has been fitted for natural gas or for provided handicapped accessibility features. No other extensions shall be offered.

Better Training:

The skills of the driver are as important as the vehicle in providing a safe and comfortable trip for the consumer. It is believed that it is necessary to make sure that drivers have the skills necessary to provide exceptional customer service.

Toronto Licensing has recently adopted a three-week training course for drivers, but the overwhelming majority of license holders got their license before it was instituted. They obtained their license on the basis of a three day course. While on-the-job training has been their classroom, there are changes in the industry that require on-going training.

Accordingly, the report recommends that all drivers take three-day refresher course every two years. The course would cover changes in the By-law, developments in tourism, defensive driving and customer service. It is also recommended that drivers who fail the current three-day course be required to take the current three-week course to maintain their license.

Training is not only important for drivers. Owners and designated agents also need to maintain their skills, particularly given how many owners are not active in the industry on a day-to-day basis. Accordingly, an annual five-day course is proposed for all owners and designated agents.

Ambassador Class Taxicabs:

The issuing of new taxicab plates is probably the most controversial aspect of the industry. The limit on plates creates a closed market. The number of cab licenses determines how many ways Toronto's Taxi "pie gets sliced". Adding new plates adds new mouths to feed, so industry concern over new plates is understandable.

The matter should also be of concern to the City. The issuance of new licenses should not merely grow the industry, but also grow it in a way that promotes the health of the industry.

The report makes two key recommendations:

The first relates to how we issue plates. The second relates to the characteristics of the new plates. Together, the recommendations are designed to ensure that new entrants to the taxi industry will offer a high quality service that we will be proud to have as Ambassadors for Toronto.

First: how we issue new plates. This report recommends that over time, the City should move away from the existing system whereby an economic model determines when new plates should be issued.

Instead, the City should draw from the London, England model, whereby new participants may enter the industry after making an investment in customer service. In London, this investment takes the form of passing a notoriously difficult test - an investment of about two years of the applicant's time. A two year course does not appear to be necessary in Toronto's case: the City is simply not that complicated. Nevertheless, there needs to be a legitimate barrier to entry to prevent the market from being flooded with cabs.

This report recommends that the barrier should not be absolute, as at present, but rather permeable. The City should facilitate individuals who want to make the necessary investment to get into the industry.

Secondly, the barrier should promote the health of the industry by leading to a positive investment in the skills and tools of the prospective cab driver.

Accordingly, two components are recommended:

-The applicant would be required to successfully complete a three-month course specially designed for Toronto taxicab drivers.

- Second, the applicant would have to put a car on the road that was no more than one model year old at the time it entered service.

Initially, it is recommended that licences be issued on this basis to a maximum of 300 licences per year. Over time, however, it is recommended that numeric limits be abandoned in favour of the modified London model.

The second recommendation relates to the characteristics of taxicab licenses. The problem with issuing new licenses of the existing kind is that it provides an economic windfall to the recipient, with no corresponding benefit to the public. The plate is issued at a cost of roughly $6,000.00, but soon is saleable at a market value approaching $85,000.00-$90,000.00. Furthermore, the right to lease the plate means that the new owner may soon cease directly serving the public.

Analysis reveals that owner-drivers are the least likely drivers to have complaints made against them for poor vehicle maintenance or bad service. This is attributed to two factors. First, an owner-driver is his or her own boss, and operates without the burden of lease costs or other layers of management. With fewer expenses to pay, the owner driver has more money to channel into vehicle maintenance. Secondly, it appears that the positive influence of pride of ownership translates into better cars and a more consistent, higher level of customer service.

Unfortunately, the number of owner-drivers is in decline. While they made up the majority of the industry in the 1970's, today they make up about 20 per cent of cab drivers. The recommendations in this report promote the existence of the owner-driver in the industry, is to promote the industry itself.

Accordingly, this report recommends that all new plates be issued with the following stipulations:

-They may only be driven by the owner;

-They may not be sold; and

-They may not be leased.

This would ensure that new plate owners would be owner-drivers.

Existing plates would be grandfathered under current regulations, with one exception: After two years from implementation, plates could only be sold to purchasers with a valid taxi driver's licence.

Enforcement:

Experience in the taxi industry has shown that vigorous enforcement is necessary to uphold the provisions of the By-law. This report recommends that action be taken to ensure that the public interest is upheld.

First, it is recommended that amendments be made to the By-law and to the Municipal Act to allow for more aggressive enforcement. For example, in order to charge an unlicensed taxicab, enforcement officers must witness money change hands. Passengers are often understandably reluctant to serve as a witness and attend a hearing. As a result, it is often impossible to successfully prosecute an offence when it is caught by enforcement staff. This requirement often renders the offence effectively unenforceable. Enforcement problems are exacerbated by the requirement that the Commission must base any penalty on their judgement whether the individual will offend in the future. Further, the Municipal Act does not currently provide for the institution of minimum penalties for guilty offences. All of these factors make vigorous enforcement a challenge. The report makes specific recommendations for amendments that will enhance the ability of the City to enforce the By-law.

Secondly, the report recommends that more resources be put into enforcement. There has been an overall decrease in enforcement resources for the taxicab industry caused by staff reductions and workload increase. This facilitates a culture that openly contravenes the By-law. Many participants choose to offend as the risk of penalty is limited. The report recommends that ten new enforcement officers be hired to increase enforcement activity in the industry.

Finally, it is believed that in the future, the industry should take a greater role in managing itself. It is recommended that the Taxi Advisory Committee be reconstituted as an elected body, with a mandate to work with Toronto Licensing to develop ways and means of achieving greater industry self-management over the next five years.

Conclusion:

The simple issuance of more licenses will not improve the quality of the industry to the degree necessary. It may be argued that the improvement to vehicle quality and driver training is all that is required. It is more likely, however, that the existing structure, even with additional plates, will lead to an eventual absence of owner-drivers and a continued decline in customer service. The challenge is to propose a solution that improves quality for passengers and provides fair returns for drivers and owners within a regulatory structure that works effectively. We believe that this plan meets the challenge.

While this report is critical of many practices common in the industry, the criticisms do not apply to everyone in it. There are many individuals - owners, drivers and designated agents - who have impressed us by their commitment to good business and good customer service. We believe that they, their peers and their customers know who they are, and we applaud them for maintaining high standards in an often frustrating system.

The real message of this report is that taxicabs are ambassadors to our visitors and residents. We must impose high expectations on the taxicab industry to leave a positive impression on the City of Toronto. This can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together towards this common goal.

(A copy of the detailed report (October 1998) entitled "Report to Review the Toronto Taxi Industry" and the Financial Analysis attached to the foregoing report was circulated to all Members of Council with the agenda for the meeting of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry held October 27, 1998, and is on file in the Office of the City Clerk.)

The Emergency and Protective Services Committee also submits the following supplementary report (November 3, 1998) from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services:

Purpose:

The purpose of this report is to respond to requests made by members of the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry respecting the report submitted by staff to the Task Force on the review. These issues deal with increasing the number of accessible taxicabs for the disabled, ambassador plates, plate issuance, responsibility of brokerages for taxicabs, and training.

Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:

There are no financial implications related to this report.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that:

(1)the increase in the number of taxicabs accessible to the disabled be achieved by increasing the number of accessible taxicabs contracted by Wheeltrans, from 25 taxicabs to 73 taxicabs by 2002, as provided for in the Wheeltrans 5-Year Accessible Plan approved by the TTC and the former Metro Council in 1997;

(2)the Emergency and Protective Services Committee refer this report to Wheeltrans and encourage the implementation of the 5-Year Accessible Plan;

(3)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services consult with representatives of the disabled community in the development of the Ambassador Taxicab training program, and the owner and driver retraining programs;

(4)this report be referred to the CAO to ensure that the Terms of Reference to be developed for the Taxicab Advisory Committee include as a priority, other means or incentives to increase the number of accessible taxicabs or improve taxicab service by the disabled;

(5)the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee within one year on how brokerages can be made to accept greater responsibility and accountability for taxis within their brokerages;

(6)Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services be authorized and directed to immediately begin an RFP process to determine interest in providing the Ambassador Taxicab training program and that the program be implemented in 1999; and

(7)the appropriate City Officials be authorized and directed to take the necessary action to give effect thereto.

Council Reference/Background/History:

The Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry on October 27, 1998, requested the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services to report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee on the following:

(i)that 10 per cent of the new ambassador licenses be accessible to the disabled;

(ii)staff be requested to consider additional incentives to the establishment of accessible taxis;

(iii)the feasibility of converting all plates to ambassador plates over a 10-year period; and

(iv)how brokerages can be made to accept greater responsibility and accountability for taxis within their brokerages;

The following motion was also referred for a report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee:

"Moved by Councillor Fotinos that:

(1) the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services and the Chief Administrative Officer be requested to immediately begin working with community colleges and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to establish a flexible time, comprehensive taxi driver education and training program that will include the components outlined in Recommendation No. 26 of the report from the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services;

(2)this training program be implemented for 1999;

(3)all owners, drivers and designated agents be required to enroll in these courses within two years of the time that they are offered;

(4)all license renewals after the year 2001, or three years after the training program has been implemented, be contingent on the successful completion of these courses;

(5)Toronto Licensing issue the number of taxi licenses recommended by the Coopers and Lybrand formula (i.e. 233) over the next two years;

(6)All new recipients of City issued licenses be required to have completed the aforementioned training program;

(7)After January 1, 2001, the sale or transfer of taxi licenses be restricted to persons who have successfully completed the training course and who will be able to demonstrate that they are active in the taxi industry and that their primary source of income is derived from the taxi business; and

(8)The issue of the proposed Ambassador Taxicabs be referred to the Taxicab Advisory Committee for further consideration."

Comments and/or Discussion and/or Justification:

Accessible Taxicabs:

Accessible taxicabs are an important component to the Toronto transportation system for the disabled. There are two key issues respecting accessible taxicabs; quality of service, and availability of service.

With respect to quality of service, a number of individuals indicate that many drivers are not sensitive to the special service needs of the disabled. Concerns range from some drivers refusing to service individuals with guide dogs, not properly securing wheelchairs, and not providing assistance. The taxicab training and retraining programs recommended in the review will include specific training respecting services for disabled passengers to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect.

With respect to availability of service, transportation options for many disabled individuals are limited to Wheeltrans service provided by the TTC and the taxi industry. While many disabled passengers can be served by the standard taxicab fleet, there are a number of individuals who require special vehicles, converted for wheelchair access. For these individuals, the issue is availability of service, not just the quality of service.

Current Accessible Taxicab Service:

Currently there are 32 accessible taxicabs in Toronto, 25 of which are under contract to six brokerages with Wheeltrans. Passengers using the Wheeltrans contracted taxicabs are in effect, subsidized, as registered passengers pay the regular TTC fare to the taxicab driver that is reimbursed to Wheeltrans. The brokerage is then paid a flat rate of $2.54 per kilometer, with the distance determined by Wheeltrans operational maps.

Accessible taxicab transportation funded by Wheeltrans is only available to registered passengers by booking a day in advance. Passengers may call a brokerage for service by one of the remaining 7 accessible taxicabs, but are obliged to pay the regular taxicab fare rate. One operator of accessible taxicabs indicates that without the subsidized Wheeltrans contracts, accessible taxicabs are not individually profitable. They further advise that the high demand for service and limited supply of vehicles generally requires pre-booking by passengers.

This view is supported by a financial analysis that reveals that vehicles are substantially more expensive, both from a capital and maintenance perspective. The capital cost of an accessible taxicab is approximately $50,000 - $55,000. The cost will vary depending on the characteristics of the taxicab. Maintenance cost will also vary but required hydraulic systems and the extra weight on the structure of the vehicles causes additional wear and tear.

Any current taxicab license holder can provide accessible taxicab service, as there is currently no differentiation in the license itself. The low number of privately available accessible taxicabs is likely the result of:

-Substantially higher capital and operating costs for accessible taxicabs render them non-profitable:

-Accessible taxicabs cost approximately $50,000-$55,000

-Brokerages indicate that they use the profits from the Wheeltrans contract to provide the private accessible taxicabs

- An individual driver could not viably operate an accessible taxicab without the Wheeltrans contract

-Private accessible taxicabs are much more expensive than accessible taxicabs operated through Wheeltrans

-Passengers booking service through Wheeltrans pay the TTC fare rather than the usual, more expensive taxicab fare (passengers must book this service in advance)

- Accessible taxicabs cannot service the same average number of passengers per day due to greater distance traveled between fares and the greater input in labour (passenger assistance)

-Fare rate charged is the same for accessible and non-accessible taxicabs

-There is not the same level of 24-hour demand

-There is a reluctance of non-disabled persons to ride in an accessible taxicab

An analysis of the privately operated accessible taxicab suggests that even if the license were acquired for free, fare revenues would have to be a minimum of 50-60% higher to be as equally well-off as a taxicab operating under a standard lease arrangement. Therefore, even if accessible taxicab licenses were offered for free, with no annual license renewal fee, it is unlikely that an individual driver would choose to provide this type of service.

Future Plans:

The Wheeltrans 5-year Accessible Plan was approved by the TTC and Metro Council in 1997 and calls for an increase in accessible taxicabs from 25 in 1998 to 73 in the year 2002 as indicated in Figure 1. The projections are based on 3% annual growth in the demand for accessible taxicab service. It should be noted that the TTC collective agreement currently limits peak service by accessible taxicabs to 25 taxis. This agreement expires on April 30, 1999.

Figure 1

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Accessible Taxicabs 25 25 44 62 73

Solution:

Under current provisions, accessible taxicabs are not financially viable for individual operators. Recognizing that Ambassador Taxicabs are intended to be owner-operated, it is difficult to devise a fair system to allocate 10% of licenses that will be accessible. The industry structure also does not support allocating a percentage of owned licenses that must be accessible. Since in most cases, fleets are not owned by brokerage companies, it is not practical to set a percentage of each fleet that must be accessible.

Incentives:

Although it is possible to create a special class of taxicab for accessible services, it would be required to provide a distinctive service from the standard taxicabs. Federal and Provincial grants to support conversion of accessible taxicabs were eliminated a number of years ago and the City cannot support business through grants or other means. The recommendations for reform to the taxicab industry also call for a 2-year extension to the life of vehicles converted for accessibility.

It appears that the preferred incentive is currently provided through the Wheeltrans contracts that offer a means of profit for taxicab owners. This system seems to work, although there is a shortage in supply. The Wheeltrans 5-Year Accessible Plan identifies this need and presents a reasonable plan to expand the fleet of accessible taxicabs. Therefore it is recommended that the increase in the number of taxicabs accessible to the disabled be achieved by increasing the number of accessible taxicabs contracted by Wheeltrans, from 25 taxicabs to 73 taxicabs by 2002, as provided for in the Wheeltrans 5-Year Accessible Plan approved by the TTC and the former Metro Council in 1997. It is also recommended that the Emergency and Protective Services Committee refer this report to Wheeltrans and encourage the implementation of the 5-Year Accessible Plan.

There may be other opportunities and ideas that the taxicab industry, in consultation with representatives of the disabled, can offer to increase service by accessible taxicabs. It is also recommended that this report be referred to the CAO to ensure that the Terms of Reference to be developed for the Taxicab Advisory Committee include as a priority, other means or incentives to increase the number of accessible taxicabs or improve taxicab service for the disabled.

Conversion to Ambassador Plates:

The conversion of all plates to Ambassador plates would result in the elimination of leasing and the complete devaluing of existing plates. The Ambassador license is premised on the concept of pride of ownership and the operation of the taxicab by an individual who has completed an advanced training program. As such, Ambassador licenses cannot be sold or leased. The financial impacts are shown in Appendix 1 to this report. Generally, returns for current taxicab license holders would diminish over a 10-year period until the lease and sale of licenses is phased out. Although a fleet of owner-operated Ambassador taxicabs offers benefits respecting quality of service, this approach would not meet all of the principles established for the Task Force in that it would not provide a fair return on investment for current taxicab license owners.

Responsibilities of Brokerages:

Brokerages are licensed by the City to provide dispatch services for the taxicab industry. As such, it is reasonable to consider methods that will increase their accountability for taxicabs operating within individual brokerages. Brokerages should have some responsibility for taxicabs they dispatch and also for the quality of the car that provides service as part of their business. Currently, responsibility for taxicabs is assigned to the owner and the driver.

The mechanisms that may be available to increase responsibilities and accountabilities for brokerages is a complex issue and would require a review of the existing license provisions. Before recommendations are made in this regard, consideration must be given to implications on enforcement, impact on the perceived decrease of responsibility for the taxicab on behalf of individual owners and drivers, and the ability of the Licensing Tribunal to impose meaningful penalties. It is therefore recommended that the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services report to the Emergency and Protective Services Committee within six months on how brokerages can be made to accept greater responsibility and accountability for taxis within their brokerages.

Training:

The approach to design and implement a training program for the Ambassador Taxicab licenses through the issuance of an RFP is in accordance with standard procedures of the City. The options for providing this training program are varied and range from individual colleges, many colleges, or other training providers. A direct arrangement, without a public process, may eliminate reasonable options. Specific program requirements, including the need to implement training in 1999 can be specified in the RFP document. Therefore, the RFP process is supported as the best approach.

The training of all owners, drivers, and designated agents within two years of the time they are offered presents three issues for consideration - the impact on Ambassador taxicabs, the impact on existing plate holders, and the practicality of training a more than 10,000 people within two years.

The Ambassador training program is designed to ensure that taxicab drivers who operate an Ambassador taxicab are committed to the industry. In addition to developing skills of taxicab drivers, the training program serves as a barrier to receiving a taxicab license. The incentive for drivers under the Ambassador program to take the expanded training program is the opportunity to operate their own taxicab business. With limited opportunity for drivers within the current structure, many may choose not to complete an extensive training program. One option is to open the opportunity for training with the proviso that the existing list will be used to continue to issue Ambassador licenses at the rate of 300 annually. The general public will benefit from improved customer service and taxicab drivers will know with absolute certainty when they will receive a plate of their own. Further, growth in the taxicab industry will remain controlled. The impact on the Ambassador Taxicab program would need to be considered further before recommendations can be made respecting expanded training.

Requiring individuals to successfully complete training in order to have their license renewed contradicts the objectives for grandfathering existing licenses. It is also not clear whether training can be mandated as a requirement for license renewal. The City Solicitor would need to review this proposal in more detail to determine the legal feasibility. Such action may force individuals to sell their licenses if they don't successfully complete the training program. The proposed reforms suggest a program of retraining for all owners, drivers, and designated agents to ensure that they are continuously upgrading their skill and made aware of changes in the City and the taxicab industry.

With respect to implementing extensive training of all taxicab participants, there are currently more than 10,000 drivers and owners in the taxicab industry. Extensive resources would be required to train that many individuals within two years. If necessary, requirements could be included in the RFP document to determine how the training field could respond to such a large, short-term demand.

Issue of Licenses by Formula:

The continued issuance of licenses by use of the Coopers and Lybrand formula is not supported as it will perpetuate the problem that occurs within the existing taxicab industry. With respect to the Coopers and Lybrand formula itself, the financial analysis reveals that it underestimates growth in demand. Financial projections completed by City staff indicate that between 200-220 Ambassador licenses would have to be issued every year just to meet growth in demand and hold plate values and lease rates at current levels.

If 233 licenses are issued over the next 2 years, and the formula is followed on an annual basis with an estimated annual issuance of 40 licenses, plate values will climb to between $133,000 and $164,00 within ten years, and lease rates to between $1,400 and $1,700 per month, as shown in Appendix 2.

This option does not provide any means to ensure that drivers receive a fair return for their labour, and as such, does not meet all of the principles established for the Task Force.

Ambassador Taxicabs:

It is important to consider the recommended reforms as a package in order to ensure that all of the principles established for the Task Force are met. As noted above, the implementation of the recommended reforms without the new Ambassador licenses will not meet all of the principles established for the Task Force. It is also likely that without opportunity for drivers, the level of customer service will not substantially improve.

The process in developing this plan was open for consultation including the Taxicab Advisory Committee. It is therefore the position of the staff team that the recommendations, including the Ambassador licenses, should be approved now to ensure that the reforms meet the needs of the taxicab industry as defined by the principles established.

_______

The Emergency and Protective Services Committee reports, for the information of Council, having also had before it the following communications/submissions:

(a)(July 6, 1998) from Mr. Gerald H. Manley requesting an opportunity to address the Committee with regard to the prepayment of fares in taxi cabs in Toronto;

(b)(September 4, 1998) from Ms. Lauri Sue Robertson, Vice President of Operations, HANDIDACTIS Inc., representing a training organization that teaches people who are not disabled to work with those who are, advising of the problems that people with disabilities face when using taxis; and requesting an opportunity to address the Committee to resolve their concerns;

(c)copies of articles which appeared in the Toronto Star on March 14 and 15, 1998 and on April 25, 1998; a copy of a Toronto Star editorial published October 10, 1998; and a copy of an editorial published in the Ottawa Citizen on October 15, 1998, regarding the Toronto taxi industry and the proposed reforms;

(d)copy of remarks made by Mr. Ross Dunsmore, Chair, Toronto Board of Trade, to the Task Force to Review the Taxi Industry on October 27, 1998, in support of the recommendations to reform the Toronto taxi industry; and

(e)submission (November 3, 1998) from the Greater Toronto Hotel Association requesting that the Committee move forward and ensure that the Toronto City Council implements the recommendations contained in the final report of the Task Force.

________

The following persons appeared before the Emergency and Protective Services Committee in connection with the foregoing matter:

-Ms. Lauri Sue Robertson, Vice President of Operations, Handidactis Inc., Toronto;

-Mr. Elliot Berlin, Solicitor, on behalf of the Toronto Taxicab Owners and Operators Association,

-Mr. Andrew Reti, on behalf of the Toronto Taxicab Owners and Operators Association and the Toronto Taxi Alliance, Thornhill;

-Mr. Stanley Steiner, Taxicab Consulting Services, North York;

-Mr. Al Moore, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Ms. Janet Youdell, Ontario March of Dimes, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. John Dufort, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Larry Labovitch, Kingsboro Taxi, Toronto;

-Mr. Gerry Manley, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. William Brown, O.M.C., Chair, Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation, Toronto Transit Commission, Scarborough;

-Mr. Peter Zahakos, c/o Co-op Taxi Associates Committee, Etobicoke, and filed a list of questions;

-Mrs. Helen Silver, Toronto;

-Mr. Andre Plante, Toronto;

-Mr. Nabil Charbel, Staff Representative, Ontario Taxi Union, Mississauga;

-Mrs. Wilma Walsh, Mississauga, and filed a confidential list;

-Mr. Jim Bell, General Manager, Diamond Taxicab Association (Toronto) Limited, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Ian Allaby, Communications Director, Toronto Taxi Drivers' Association, Toronto;

-Mr. Peter Mandronis, Peter's Taxi Ltd., Toronto;

-Mr. Kuldip Virk, Toronto;

-Mr. John Lewis, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Randy Shantz, Toronto;

-Mr. Behrouz Khamseh, Toronto;

-Mr. Andrew Whiteley, Toronto;

-Ms. Francine Frimeth, Toronto;

-Mr. Aldo Marchese, Vice President, Independent Cab Owners' Co-operative Inc., Mississauga;

-Mr. Eugene Meikle, President, Toronto Taxi Drivers Association, Toronto;

-Mr. Steve Anemi, Toronto;

-Mr. George Bartsiocas, Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. Mohammad Reza, Toronto;

-Mr. Kuldip Singh, Brampton;

-Mr. Dave Thomas, Toronto;

-Mr. Paul Forhan, Independent Cab Owners' Co-operative Inc., Toronto, and filed a written submission;

-Mr. David Norman, Toronto;

-Mr. Bruce Thompson, Toronto;

-Mr. Attiq-ur Rahman, Mississauga, and filed a written submission;

-Ms. Frances Schetakis, Toronto;

-Mr. Bruce Davis, Vice-President, Urban Intelligence Inc.;

-Mr. Chris Laskowski, Toronto;

-Mrs. Julie Garside, Toronto;

-Mr. Michael Carman, Toronto;

-Mr. Martin Ceh'Serement, Toronto;

-Mr. Kamil Trubalsey, Toronto;

-Mr. Shawn Weisbart, Toronto, and filed a written submission; and

-Mr. Urban Shaw, Toronto.

 

   
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