More transportation choices: Ottawa opens the door to companies like Uber and Lyft, while modernizing taxi regulations
I’m pleased to tell you that Ottawa has become one of the first Canadian jurisdictions to adopt regulations for Private Transportation Companies like Uber and Lyft. We’ve also cut fees and red tape on the traditional taxi industry in order to allow it to compete and innovate. The new regulations come into effect on September 30.
If a Private Transportation Company like Uber or Lyft want to operate in Ottawa, they’ll be required to follow some common-sense rules:
- Commercial insurance
- Police checks for drivers
- Vehicle inspections
- 11¢ per-ride licensing fee (to cover the cost of administration)
- Per-ride fee to support accessible services such as Para Transpo (to be negotiated; in lieu of directly providing 15% wheelchair-accessible cars)
At the same time, we’ve heard from taxi drivers and passengers that the status-quo is simply not working. That’s why we’re removing several restrictions on the taxi industry to allow it to compete and innovate:
- Allow taxi companies to offer reduced fares when rides are booked through an app
- Eliminate the $1.50 credit and debit card fee
- Reduce the taxi driver license fee by 40% (from $170 to $96)
- Waive the taxi driver license fee for accessible taxis (from $170 to $0)
- Allow companies run their own customer service training, instead of the $820 standard taxicab driver multi-week course at Algonquin College
- Eliminate interior and trunk size requirements for vehicles (more flexibility)
- Increase maximum vehicle age from 8 to 10 years (more flexibility)
I have every confidence that the traditional taxi industry can compete under these new rules, especially as they retain the exclusive right to pick up street hails, use taxi stands and receive payment in cash.
You may have heard some of the traditional taxi industry’s concerns about the original proposal. Their feedback led to a number of changes to the proposed rules to deal with Private Transportation Company issues such as enforcement, compliance, taxes, and delaying the implementation date for several months.
The City’s role is not to ban competition. We should set fair rules for all transportation categories, and then allow you, the customer, to make your own informed choices. Ottawa should be a place where competitive, effective transportation options are available for all.