The Toronto taxi industry will be proposing a list of recommendations to amend the city’s proposed by-law to regulate Uber when the report is presented at the Licensing and Standards Committee meeting on Thursday.
The city’s report on the new vehicle-for-hire bylaw released last week was panned by the taxi industry for being too watered down and for its lack of proper safety standards.
“It is a mistake for this report to suggest weakened by-laws, and we strongly recommend Council reject these new, weaker standards,” said Rita Smith, Executive Director of the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) in a media release on Thursday.
The wording of the proposed vehicle-for-hire bylaw released a week ago would combine taxicabs, limousines and private ridesharing companies under one roof.
It includes lowering licensing fees for taxi drivers, having ridesharing vehicles subject to annual inspections and a minimum level of insurance.
But the taxi industry is concerned the regulations maintain a two-tiered system weighted on the side of Uber.
Some of the amendments proposed by the TTA include the stipulation that all Uber drivers must be able to communicate in English, the vehicles must have a mandatory requirement for snow tires, each car must be equipped with security cameras and emergency lights and that the vehicles have visible “vehicle-for-hire” signage .
In terms of fares, the taxi industry is proposing a metered system standardized across the system with no discounts or price surges.
Also, the TTA is proposing that all drivers must be fully licensed in Ontario and required to submit their HST number to the city.
If the new vehicle-for-hire bylaw is approved, it will be brought forward to city council for a vote in May.