3 things to know about Toronto city council's Uber vote

Toronto city council will determine whether to ban or accommodate the ride-hailing service, which has upended the city's taxi industry.

Toronto city staff are recommending changes to accommodate the ride-hailing service

Toronto city councillors are getting set to decide the future of Uber in the city.

The licensing and standards committee is recommending Toronto revise its taxi and limousine rules to include the ride-hailing service. 

Toronto to decide on whether to regulate Uber rides

6 years ago
Duration 1:23
Taxi spokesmen say proposed regulations are not enough and leave them at a disadvantage 1:23

The upstart company has disrupted Toronto's taxi industry since its launch in 2012.

Here are three key issues that will influence and guide today's discussion at city hall:

A divided council

The meeting is likely to be a lively one — as councillors are split on whether to ban or accommodate the controversial service.

Mayor John Tory says he wants to find solutions that will allow the multi-billion dollar company to continue operating, but some of his colleagues believe Uber has skirted regulations and should not be trusted.

"We have a very, very well-financed company saying 'the law doesn't apply to me,'" said Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale - High Park).

"There are other technological companies that offer transportation services that don't break the law. We have to make sure they get into the market and not scofflaws like Uber."

Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) said it would be a waste of money to stretch out the legal battle any further, since more tech companies are likely to continue infiltrating the market.

Instead, she favours updated regulations to account for the changing transportation landscape. 

"We need to set up a regime that's easy to understand and comply with," Carroll said.

Making taxis more competitive

The administration is proposing changes that would make Toronto's traditional taxis more competitive.

The most noticeable change would be a drop in the initial cost for hailing a cab from $4.25 to $3.25, as well as a 10 per cent reduction in each cab's overall rate.

Staff is also recommending a larger review of taxicab bylaws, with an aim to reduce regulatory burden and improve efficiency.

What to do with UberX

A vote to ban Uber will not necessarily mean a ban on the company's newest service, UberX, which connects passengers with unlicensed vehicles-for-hire. The report says UberX now accounts for around 17,000 rides per day.

Toronto sought to suspend the service shortly after it launched in September 2014, arguing that UberX drivers should be licensed under taxi and limousine rules. 

That application was struck down in July 2015 after a court determined the city's bylaws did not cover services like UberX.

The latest staff recommendation says the service is operating "at a level that warrants regulatory oversight," and that the city should develop new regulations to cover private vehicles-for-hire.