One of the first things I had to deal with when I came into office in December 2014 was the Uber/taxi debate. The taxi industry was changing fast, driven by the availability of new technologies and the consumers’ demand for an increase in choice. The city’s licensing department, after 18 months of study, has released new regulations to modernize the industry and level the playing field for taxi’s, limousines and private transportation companies.
The city consulted widely before it put forward these recommendations. They had 150 participants from the taxi and limousine industry give input over 13 meetings. The city received 73,000 responses to an on line general population survey and 6,300 responses from an industry survey. All of this resulted in the report which was released on April 7th.
These regulations are fair and balanced. They cut licensing and training fees that impact drivers and allow taxi companies to discount fares to remain competitive. They also provide regulations for private companies like Uber and Lyft that will ensure the safety and security of the public.
This new framework provides choice to the consumer and lets drivers earn a living in a fair and competitive marketplace. Let’s hope that by the end of the May Council meeting we will have a ground transportation system that puts the people of Toronto first.