April 7, 2016 by Canadian Underwriter
Private transportation companies (PTCs) in Toronto would be required to carry a minimum of $2 million of collision and passenger hazard insurance, in addition to $5 million of commercial general liability insurance under proposed recommendations from Toronto City Council.
Currently, only taxicabs and limousines in the city are required to carry a minimum of $2 million of collision and passenger hazard insurance.
On Thursday, Tracey Cook, executive director of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division and Vanessa Fletcher, the city’s policy and planning advisor, provided a technical media brief on the city’s Ground Transportation Review that will be considered by Toronto’s Licensing and Standards Committee at its April 14 meeting. Besides the $7 million in coverage, Toronto City Council is also requesting that the Ministry of Finance approve “new flexible insurance products for the taxicab industry.”
The proposed recommendations are intended to provide ground transportation industries with an opportunity to develop efficiencies, allow for competition and reduce the regulatory burden, the city said in the technical briefing. The Ground Transportation Review held 13 meetings with participants from the taxi and limo industry, involved Ipsos Reid research and written submissions from industry, other stakeholders and interested organizations, such as the Competition Bureau of Canada.
Overall, the recommendations in the report, titled A New Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw to Regulate Toronto’s Ground Transportation Industry, reduce regulations for taxis and limos and permit PTCs, with regulations.
Taxis will continue to charge the city-regulated rate when a cab is hailed or from a cab stand ($3.25 for the initial charge + $0.25 for every 143 meters + $0.25 for every 29 seconds of waiting time) under the recommendations. Fares booked through a brokerage, either by phone or app, can be discounted by the brokerage. The recommendations also remove the minimum $70 per hour fare requirement for limos. PTC and limos do not have regulated fares.
Limos and PTCs would also be required to submit an annual safety standards certificate issued by a licensed mechanic. PTC drivers would not be licensed by the city, but must meet the same criminal background and driver screening requirements as vehicle-for-hire drivers, with records subject to audit by the city.
According to data received from Uber, there are more than 15,000 UberX drivers in the Greater Toronto area and more than 45,000 daily trips, with the average tenure of an “active” driver being three months, the briefing said.