Toronto

Special UberX licensing class recommended by city staff dumped by committee

The job of reforming Toronto’s taxi industry to bring ride-hailing companies such as Uber under the same regulatory umbrella has been turned over to city council.

Bylaw now goes to city council, where more heated debate will begin on May 3

The licensing and standards committee has sent a proposed bylaw aimed at overhauling Toronto's taxi industry to city council. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The job of reforming Toronto's taxi industry to bring ride-hailing companies such as Uber under the same regulatory umbrella has been turned over to city council.

Late Friday, the city's licensing and standards committee voted to send a proposed new bylaw to city council. However, committee members first voted to remove an entire section that would have created a separate licensing class for "private transportation companies," or PTCs, such as the UberX service in which drivers pick up fares in their private cars.

The PTC designation would have included a separate licensing fee structure from taxis and limousines. It would also have required that all drivers and vehicles have automobile liability insurance of at least $2 million and general liability insurance of at least $5 million, that all vehicles have an annual mechanical inspection and required detailed record keeping of drivers, vehicles and their fares.

Late Friday, Coun. Janet Davis tweeted her displeasure at the vote.

The committee voted on the bylaw following two days of sometimes heated debate and speeches by stakeholders, from passengers to taxi drivers.

The document has been sent to city council, where it will be debated anew beginning on May 3. Council can make further changes.

Among provisions the committee adopted: a requirement that all cars licensed by the city have snow tires between December 1 and March 15; that all drivers licensed by the city be 21 years of age or older, hold a valid Ontario licence and have at least one year of driving history; and that all drivers have a command of the English language.

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