'Vomit fee' part of Toronto taxi review

A so-called 'vomit fee' is among recommendations that stem from a taxi industry review that will come before a city committee next week.

If approved, new rules would also allow drivers to charge $25 deposit

A $25 vomit fee is among the recommendations in a review of taxi rules that will come before a cit committee next week. 3:02

City Hall is considering some big changes to the taxi industry, including a new rule that will allow taxi companies to charge passengers who throw up in their cabs a $25 fee.

The so-called "vomit fee" is just one of many recommendations stemming from an industry review councillors will consider next week.

Taxi driver Khuram Shahzad said it's a problem: intoxicated passengers who get sick in the cab. When it happens, he loses time and money.

"You cannot work after that because the smell is bad," he told CBC News. "No one is gonna sit inside."

He said the proposed $25 cleaning fee will help, but won't cover all his losses.

$25 deposit to stop fare evaders

The city's taxi industry review has been in the works for three years and identifies other problems, including passengers who skip out on fares.

The solution is a new rule allowing drivers to charge $25 upfront if they think they might get ripped off.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong thinks the changes will make the job safer for drivers.

"They're driving these cars day in and day out," he said. "I think they can suss out the customers that might be a flight risk."

However some drivers tell CBC News it's not easy to spot potential fare evaders. And many passengers don't like the idea of handing over money before their trip begins.

The review also recommends a new licensing system that would require taxi owners to drive their cabs some of the time. The current rules allow owners to rent out their cabs and sell their licences.

Calls for more wheelchair-accessible vehicles

Also, changes would require that all new cabs be wheelchair-accessible.

In the meantime, the report calls for six per cent of Toronto's taxi fleet to be wheelchair accessible in time for the 2015 Pan-Am Games.

The taxi industry review will tabled at the city's licensing and standards committee next Thursday. If approved, it will be voted on by city council next month.

With files from CBC's Trevor Dunn


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