Toronto’s taxi industry gets its long-awaited overhaul

Toronto’s taxi industry gets its long-awaited overhaul

(Image: Maria Nepomnyashchikh) (Image: Maria Nepomnyashchikh)
 

It almost didn’t happen, but on Wednesday city council finally put an end to a years-long effort to overhaul Toronto’s taxi licensing system. After an attempt by other councillors to punt some of the reforms back to city staff for an additional year of consideration, councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon succeeded in getting the changes passed at Wednesday’s council meeting.

As a result, Toronto’s two-tiered taxi system—where some drivers are free to rent and sell their licenses while others hold non-transferable licenses that require them to drive their own cabs—will transition to a unified system by 2024. All taxi drivers will be able to sell their licenses, and all of them will have to do their own driving at least some of the time. Cabs that transition to the new license will be required to be wheelchair accessible.

Toronto’s taxi people are divided over whether or not these changes are a net positive for the industry, but riders, at any rate, will see some benefits. And yet, there are also some drawbacks for the taxi-hailing public. Among the measures approved by council is the now-infamous $25 “vomit fee,” which empowers drivers to fine passengers for regurgitory mishaps.