Toronto upping requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers

Jul 19 2019, 2:03 pm

The City of Toronto is taking steps they say will keep residents and visitors safe when using vehicles-for-hire in the city.

On Thursday, city council adopted a number of amendments to the Vehicles-for-Hire By-law that will improve the safety and accessibility of taxicabs, limousines, and private transportation companies (PTCs) such as Uber and Lyft.

As of January 1, 2020, paid drivers in the city must meet the following requirements:

  • Increase the current minimum years of driving experience from one year to three years.
  • Make it mandatory for all drivers to take a third-party training program approved by the city. Preliminary topics include: transporting passengers in a safe manner, driving in an urban setting, providing accessible service, anti-racism, diversity and sensitivity, and legal requirements.
  • Require all drivers to affix “Watch for Bike” notices to their vehicles. PTCs will also be required to push notifications to passengers that instruct them to look for cyclists before exiting a vehicle.
  • Mandate drivers to securely mount all handheld devices to their vehicle.
  • Require drivers to display notices if a camera is being used to record passengers.

The city is also implementing new measures to improve accessibility for passengers. This includes introducing an accessibility fund program to help offset the higher cost of providing wheelchair-accessible service.

The program will be funded through a regulatory charge on members of the industry that do not provide wheelchair-accessible service. Funds will be dispersed based on service standards, such as the number of hours an accessible vehicle is available for dispatch.

In addition to these new requirements, council adopted further amendments to the by-law on Thursday to improve the licensing and enforcement of the vehicle-for-hire industry. This includes increasing the amount of data that is collected to help inform future regulations.

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“The safety of the public is our top priority,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.

“These new and updated requirements are a necessary step in protecting the residents and visitors of this city. Regardless of where they are going or how far the distance, we want to make sure passengers are able to access the service and get to their destination safely.”