Ride-sharing company Uber, now defined by the city as a Private Transportation Company (PTC), has been licensed for one week and the rules governing how drivers are to operate have been in place since July 15.
It was a “phantom date” according to councillor Jim Karygiannis, a vocal critic of the company, who said it was obvious that Uber wouldn’t be able to meet all the requirements outlined by the city.
One of those mandates vehicles to display a sticker on the passenger side back window while operating in a PTC capacity.
But Global News called five Uber vehicles to locations in the downtown core Tuesday and none had the sticker displayed.
Four of the five drivers said they received no direction from the company, while one said he received an email about the obligation last week.
One driver admitted he would not display the identifier as it would attract unwanted attention.
“Why can’t they follow the law? It’s very simple,” said Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“It’s astonishing that they get to get away with it. We’re following the rules and regulations as we always do, and we expect Uber to do the same thing.”
The issue is that even though the company is now licensed, individual vehicles must also be licensed by the City of Toronto.
As part of that process background checks must be approved, which require consent from the driver and can add to the delay.
Technically many of the drivers currently on the road are still unlicensed and therefore not bound by the regulations because they’re operating outside the rules.
In an email to Global News, the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing & Standards department said it’s working actively with the company to license all their drivers’ vehicles.
“The city has a phased application process and we are working collaboratively with the city,” an Uber spokeswoman said in an email.
Applications for PTC vehicle licenses must be submitted on behalf of the driver by the actual company, according to staff from the Municipal Licensing & Standards department.
“I would like to give them a grace period until after September,” said Karygiannis. “But then after that, hammer them.”
Maximum fines for non-compliance can be $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations.
The city expects around 12,000 applications for PTC vehicle licenses and Uber believes all their drivers will meet the regulatory requirement by the end of September.