City Council votes to revamp rules for Toronto's taxis

New regulations say the owner of a taxi license must also be the driver

Toronto City Council votes in sweeping changes to the city's taxi regulations
Photo: CTV News

Toronto City Council has voted in sweeping changes to the regulations that govern the city's taxi industry.

Councillors adopted several motions on Wednesday that will see Toronto streamline its cab licensing system to a single credential -- simply called a Toronto Taxi License.

The change means the owner of a taxi license will be the person driving the vehicle.

Under the old rules, roughly 3,500 cab drivers who had to rent city-issued cab licenses from brokerage firms had to pay to keep their cars on the road.

The iTaxi Workers Association, a group that represents Toronto cab drivers, applauded the move, saying it will bring operating costs down and make it easier and safer for their members to earn a living.

Also included in the package of new regulations is a push to add almost 300 wheelchair-accessible taxis to Toronto's fleet by the 2015 Pan-Am Games.

Toronto's full fleet taxis will be wheelchair-accessible by 2024.

In addition, all cabs will soon have to be equipped with winter tires during the snowy months.

Cab drivers have 10 years to switch over to the new Toronto Taxi License.

The rules are not expected to have a short-term affect cab fares but cab brokerage companies have voiced concern that service may suffer.

"We look at other cities that have gone to the owner-driver model and they're not providing 24-hour service to the people in those cities," says Kristine Hubbard, an operations manager with Beck Taxi.

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