New Vehicle-for-Hire By-law takes effect on September 30, 2016

New Vehicle-for-Hire By-law takes effect on September 30, 2016

Ottawa – The City’s new Vehicle-For-Hire By-law will come into effect on Friday, September 30, making Ottawa one of the first municipalities in the nation to have a by-law to specifically address and regulate private transportation companies (PTC).

The by-law was developed on the basis of three guiding principles: public safety, accessibility and consumer protection. It was approved by Council in April 2016 following consideration of the report Regulating Vehicles-for-Hire in the City of Ottawa – Taxis, Limousines and Private Transportation Companies which was derived from the Taxicab and Limousine Regulation and Service Review and extensive stakeholder and public consultations. 

Effective September 30, a PTC wishing to operate in the City of Ottawa must first apply for and be issued a business license. Licensed PTCs must comply with a number of regulations for public safety and consumer protection regarding transactions with customers, affiliated drivers, and vehicle standards including ensuring that drivers have the required police records checks as well as appropriate insurance, and that vehicles are safe and regularly inspected. Further, prior to commencing operations and on a regular basis thereafter, each PTC must provide to the City’s Chief License Inspector information about its drivers and their vehicles in order to ensure compliance with legislated requirements. PTCs will pay the same broker fee as traditional taxi companies, in addition to a fee on a per-ride basis.

In keeping with Council’s three guiding principles and in order to ensure the greatest amount of consumer choice in vehicle-for-hire models, a simplified and updated regulatory framework has been adopted for the traditional taxi and limousine industries. The new features of the taxi regulations include:

  • Allowing taxi companies to use variable pricing when rides are booked through an app
  • Eliminating the $1.50 credit and debit card fee
  • Reducing the standard taxi driver license fee by over 40 per cent (from $170 to $96)
  • Waiving the taxi driver license fee for accessible taxis (from $170 to $0)
  • Eliminating interior and trunk size requirements for vehicles
  • Increasing maximum vehicle age from eight to 10 years
  • Allowing taxi companies to determine their own industry-specific customer service training by eliminating the requirement for the Taxi Driver Education Program and the refresher training, but retaining the Accessible Taxicab Training Course
  • Retaining taxis’ exclusive ability to accept street-hails, together with exclusive use of taxi stands and lanes
  • ‎Allowing for nominal cancellation fees and surcharges for premium vehicle options when rides are booked through an app

The taxi industry continues to be an integral component of the City’s public transportation system – providing safe, reliable and accessible 24/7 service in a regulated environment.

Changes approved to modernize regulations for limousines include:

  • Establishing an auxiliary service category that addresses other service models not in the current framework, such as special senior assistance services and “responsible choice”-type services
  • Refining the definition of limousine and realigning vehicle features to ensure vehicles are “luxury” and are distinguished from other vehicles for hire
  • Increasing the minimum fares