To:

Operational Services Committee

Item:

Date of Report:

   

OS-02-399

October 30, 2002

From:

Don O’Leary, Commissioner

File:

Date of Meeting:

 

Department of Corporate Services

D-2330

November 6, 2002

Subject:

Proposed Oshawa Taxi By-law Reforms

 
   

Five

BACKGROUND

City of Oshawa Regulatory Framework

The City of Oshawa taxicab industry is regulated and governed by By-law 102-2000 (see Attachment A). The current regulatory framework recognizes that it is in the public interest to have a financially viable taxicab industry to ensure the availability of taxicab service, public safety and service in low profit situations such as off-hours and short trips.

In general, the taxicab industry is extensively regulated which means the free-market economic rules of supply and demand do not prevail. Instead, the supply of available service and fare are established by municipal by-law. The regulatory framework in Oshawa is similar to that of other Canadian cities. The main areas of regulation in Oshawa are:

For the most part, whether these regulations are negative or positive largely depends on an individuals role and involvement in the industry (i.e. taxicab driver, plate holder, broker).

Size and Structure of the Oshawa Taxicab Industry

The Oshawa taxicab industry consists of a number of stakeholders including brokers, taxicab plate holders, lessees, and taxicab drivers. Currently, there are two brokers operating in Oshawa (Taxi Taxi and City Wide Taxi), 88 taxicabs (including 2 accessible taxicabs) and approximately 348 licensed drivers.

Oshawa Taxi Industry Study

On April 17, 2001, Oshawa City Council approved the hiring of an outside consultant to undertake a comprehensive review of the Oshawa taxi industry. A copy of the Terms of Reference for the study is attached (see Attachment B).

At the October 1, 2001, City Council meeting, City Council approved the hiring of Bruzzese Minshull & Associates Inc. (BMA) to undertake this review. BMA conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation process over a four-month period using a variety of tools such as questionnaires, surveys and focus groups and undertook a literature and best practice review.

At a special meeting of the Operational Services Committee held on April 26, 2002, BMA presented the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study (see Attachment C). The Study consisted of a comprehensive review of longstanding and significant issues facing the Oshawa taxi industry and contained a series of recommendations on the broader regulatory policies of the City. Approximately 100 members of the public and taxi industry representatives attended the meeting. A copy of the meeting minutes is attached (see Attachment D). At the conclusion of that meeting, the Committee made the following recommendation:

"That the City of Oshawa Taxi Industry Study Report as prepared by Bruzzese Minshull & Associates Inc. be received for information; and that the comments of the delegations and the Consultant’s Report be referred to staff for report."

The purpose of this report is to recommend a series of changes to the current regulatory framework governing the Oshawa taxi industry. The report is structured as follows:

In formulating the proposed recommendations, City staff made every effort to maintain a balance between the need for regulatory reform with the desire to ensure a smooth implementation of changes (if approved by Council) to avoid unnecessary service disruptions and/or to mitigate undue financial hardships for industry stakeholders.

INPUT FROM OTHER SOURCES

Legal and Real Estate Services and the Taxi Liaison Committee (TLC) were consulted during the preparation of this report. Impact statements were also separately received from the plate holder and taxicab driver TLC representatives (see Attachment E). Other Ontario municipalities were contacted concerning their regulations. Several additional written submissions were also received from members of the public and industry stakeholders (see Attachment F).

ANALYSIS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Taxicab Driver Licensing Requirements

Background

In order to ensure safer and more adequate taxi service provision, several Ontario municipalities have, over the past few years, implemented increased licensing requirements for taxicab drivers. The City of Oshawa currently has relatively few licensing requirements for taxicab drivers. An applicant is simply required to pay a minimal licence fee, provide a criminal information report, be 18 years of age or older and hold a valid Class "G" driver’s licence.

During BMA’s consultation process, a number of participants voiced concerns regarding the City’s current taxicab driver licensing requirements. Participants suggested the City take additional steps to align its licensing standards with those found in other municipalities. In a survey of taxi customers also conducted by BMA, the majority of respondents rated the service provided by Oshawa taxicab drivers as satisfactory to excellent. Nevertheless, respondents did suggest improvements such as stricter personal appearance requirements, increased level of assistance for customers with baggage, and improved assistance to passengers with special needs.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 31–35)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made several recommendations with respect to taxicab driver licensing requirements, all of which were designed to increase standards. BMA's recommendations included the transferring of responsibility for reviewing the criminal records of taxicab driver applicants to the Durham Regional Police, the development of new guidelines for approval of applicants with criminal histories and poor driving records, a change to an annual renewal of taxicab driver licences (rather than every two years), increased driver standards through the addition of a medical certificate requirement as a condition of taxicab driver licence approval, and the implementation of additional licensing requirements such as a taxicab driver dress code.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC generally agreed with the recommendations proposed by BMA concerning taxicab driver licensing requirements. A general overview of the TLC’s response to the BMA Study is included (see Attachment G).

Staff Analysis

Criminal Background and Driving Record

City Clerk Services frequently receives Taxicab Drivers Licence applications from individuals with criminal histories. This presents difficulties for Licensing staff in terms of determining an applicant’s suitability to hold a municipal Taxicab Drivers Licence. City Clerk Services surveyed other Ontario municipalities to determine how these types of applicants are dealt with elsewhere. Based on this research, it appears most municipalities struggle with this issue, and as such, no one best practice is available for reference. For instance, in the City of Toronto, applicants with criminal charges/convictions dated within three years of the licence application may be required to attend the Licensing Office for an interview in order to determine whether the issuance of a Taxicab Drivers Licence should be approved. At this stage, the applicant has the right to request a hearing before the Toronto Licensing Tribunal. Should the charges/convictions be of a more serious nature such as sexual assault or armed robbery, the application is automatically denied. In the City of Mississauga, applicants with any criminal charges/convictions are required to meet with City staff to review their application. Each interview is documented and at the conclusion of the interview a recommendation by staff is made to the Supervisor of Licensing. The main criteria used to determine if a Taxicab Drivers Licence should be issued is whether staff believe the applicant poses a threat to the public based on his/her past or present conduct.

Under the Taxicab By-law, to qualify for a Taxicab Drivers Licence, applicants are required to submit a current Criminal Information Report (C.I.R.) dated no more than 30 days prior to the licence application. Upon receipt of such an application, Licensing staff review the C.I.R. to determine if a Taxicab Drivers Licence should be granted. If the C.I.R. indicates the applicant has been convicted of an offence under Sections 235, 236, 239 or 240 of the Criminal Code, the applicant is denied. A copy of the City’s current protocol with respect to dealing with applicants with criminal histories is included as Attachment H. While the previously noted sections of the Criminal Code pertain to serious criminal offences, they do not take into account other serious offences such as drinking and driving. As such, City Clerk Services recommends the current protocol be amended to include additional sections of the Criminal Code. City Clerk Services also recommends that staff consult with the Durham Regional Police Service on the development of new guidelines for dealing with licensed taxicab drivers that become subject to criminal convictions subsequent to licence issuance.

Taxicab Driver Health

The Taxicab By-law does not currently require taxicab driver applicants to provide a medical certificate as a condition of licence approval. To help verify applicants for Taxicab Drivers Licences are physically and mentally capable of performing the duties of a taxicab driver and are free from communicable diseases, City Clerk Services recommends all new taxicab driver applicants be required to submit a medical certificate prepared by a qualified medical practitioner.

City Clerk Services periodically receives complaints and/or concerns regarding the physical health of taxicab drivers. As such, it is recommended the City Clerk be authorized via by-law to request up-to-date medical certificates from licensed drivers if there is concern the public safety may be at risk due to poor taxicab driver health.

City Clerk Services also recommends the following provision be implemented via by-law: "That no licensed driver shall take, consume or have in their possession any alcohol, drugs prohibited by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or intoxicants while they are in charge of the taxicab for which they are a driver."

Taxicab Driver Employment Status

BMA recommended the City require, as part of the application process, taxicab driver applicants to provide proof of their ability to work in Canada. The present Taxicab By-law does not require such proof, nor has this been an issue in Oshawa. As such, City Clerk Services recommends the taxicab brokers, as the employer of taxicab drivers, be responsible for ensuring taxicab drivers they employ are legally eligible to work in Canada.

 

Taxicab Driver Experience

BMA recommended that taxicab driver applicants be required to have a minimum of two years driving experience as a class "G" driver in order to qualify for a licence. This recommendation was proposed in light of taxi industry statistics that indicate the incidents of accidents are greater for drivers with limited driving experience. City Clerk Services staff are in agreement with BMA’s recommendation and recommend this requirement be implemented via by-law.

Taxicab Driver Dress Code

A suitable appearance for taxicab drivers is an essential part of creating a positive image of the Oshawa taxi industry and of the community as a whole. The Taxicab By-law does not currently require taxicab drivers to adhere to any form of a dress code. Over the past few years, City Clerk Services has received complaints regarding the appearance of some taxicab drivers. BMA recommended a dress code be implemented for all taxicab drivers. Surprisingly, seventy-nine percent of the drivers surveyed by BMA favoured such a move. City Clerk Services concurs with BMA’s recommendation and suggest the following provision be enacted via by-law:

"No licensed driver shall drive a taxicab unless they are well-groomed, neat and clean in personal appearance, and properly dressed in pants (other than sweatpants and/or jeans) or skirt, a button-down shirt/blouse and/or golf shirt and shoes all free from obvious wear and tear."

Annual Renewal of Taxicab Drivers Licence

BMA recommended the current practice of renewing Taxicab Drivers Licences every two years be amended to an annual renewal. This amendment is consistent with the current licensing practice for all other licence categories and will help ensure licensing records are kept up-to-date. It will also allow licensing staff an opportunity to review the driving record of taxicab drivers more frequently. As such, City Clerk Services staff are in favour of BMA’s recommendation and recommend this change be enacted via by-law.

Taxicab Driver Licensing Requirements Staff Recommendations:

  1. That City Clerk Services, in consultation with the Durham Regional Police Service, develop new guidelines for the approval of applicants with criminal histories and poor driving records.
  2. That City Clerk Services, in consultation with the Durham Regional Police Service, develop a new protocol to address currently licensed drivers convicted with a serious crime(s).
  3. That City Clerk Services renew Taxicab Drivers Licences on an annual basis and that the annual renewal process include a review of the applicant’s driving record in the form of a driver abstract.
  4. That a broker and any licensed taxicab drivers be required to notify the City Clerk within seven calendar days of any criminal charges or convictions.
  5. That all new taxicab drivers be required to have a minimum of two years class ‘G’ driving experience to be eligible to qualify for a Taxicab Drivers Licence.
  6. That all new taxicab drivers be required to submit a medical certificate prepared by a qualified medical practitioner, stating the applicant is physically and mentally capable of performing the duties of a taxicab driver and is free from communicable diseases;
  7. That the City Clerk be authorized to request submission of an updated medical certificate prepared by a qualified medical practitioner attesting as to whether or not the driver is fit and able to operate a taxicab, at any time the City Clerk determines public safety may be in jeopardy due to poor driver health;
  8. That the following provision be implemented: "That no licensed driver shall take, consume or have in their possession any alcohol or drugs prohibited by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or intoxicants while they are in charge of the taxicab for which they are a driver."
  9. That the following provision be implemented: "No licensed driver shall drive a taxicab unless they are well-groomed, neat and clean in personal appearance, and properly dressed in pants (no jeans and/or sweatpants) or skirt, a button-down shirt/blouse and/or golf shirt and shoes all free from obvious wear and tear."

Taxicab Driver Training

Background

Proper training and testing of taxicab drivers has a direct impact on the quality and safety of the taxi service ultimately provided to the public. The City currently has no training or pre-testing requirements in place for taxicab drivers. Both taxi brokerages in Oshawa, however, have indicated they provide in-house training to new taxicab drivers. The majority of Ontario municipalities surveyed by BMA require new taxicab drivers to undertake testing and, in many cases, to complete a driver training program as a condition of licence approval.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 36–40)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a series of recommendations regarding taxicab driver training including the implementation of a driver and testing program to address public safety issues and to ensure taxicab drivers are knowledgeable about City regulations. BMA recommended the training program be developed and designed in a manner both convenient and cost-effective for taxicab drivers. They also suggested the curriculum include, among other things, customer service, local geography, Taxicab By-law provisions, driver safety, and accessible service training. BMA also stipulated the City play a regulatory, rather than an administrative role in the provision of taxicab driver training and have recommended the cost of the training program be borne by applicants.

 

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC agreed with the majority of BMA’s recommendations concerning taxicab driver training. They suggested, however, existing drivers be given two years instead of one year from program implementation to take a training course and that refresher courses be required every five years instead of every three years.

Staff Analysis

As previously noted, there are currently very few requirements to become a taxicab driver in Oshawa. Results of the taxicab driver survey conducted by BMA clearly indicate the majority of drivers believe the current in-house training provided by brokerage firms is inadequate and support the implementation of a taxicab driver training program conducted by an independent service provider. The need for additional training was also supported by some of the customers BMA surveyed who suggested there was a need for taxicab drivers to obtain additional training related to etiquette, personal appearance, and the provision of accessible taxi service. City Clerk Services recommends the implementation of driver training and testing requirements. Staff also recommends the cost of such a program be borne by applicants as per standard industry practice.

Based on preliminary research conducted by City Clerk Services, there are a number of viable service delivery options available to Oshawa with respect to taxicab driver training programs. For instance, the City of Toronto, through its Taxi Industry Unit, licenses its training programs, courses and workshops to other municipalities and have indicated they can provide customized training solutions to Oshawa taxicab drivers depending on the City’s objectives, needs and resources. The City of Ottawa has also indicated they plan to provide a similar service in the not-to-distant future.

Should Council approve the need for a taxicab driver training and testing requirement for Oshawa taxicab drivers, it would be the intent of City Clerk Services to consult with industry stakeholders concerning matters such as course length and curriculum. City Clerk Services would also report back to Council with program details and associated costs prior to entering into any contractual arrangements with a service provider.

Driver Safety

There is growing concern throughout North America for the safety of those employed in the taxi industry due to the vulnerability of taxicab drivers and the knowledge that they often carry cash. Little scientific research into the risks faced by taxi drivers has been done, however, the National Taxi Driver Safety Council in the United States reported that in 1988, 34,070 acts of violence were inflicted on American taxicab drivers. Staff were unable to find similar statistics for Canada.

While personal safety has been identified as one of the topics to be addressed by a taxicab driver training program, additional steps should also be taken to help protect Oshawa taxicab drivers. As such, City Clerk Services recommends the following provisions be enacted:

"A licensed taxicab driver may refuse to pick up a passenger if the passenger:

  1. is belligerent, intoxicated or disorderly; or
  2. refuses to give their destination; or
  3. is in the possession of an animal other than a medical aid animal; or
  4. is eating or drinking any food or beverage; or
  5. has not paid a previous fare; or
  6. in the opinion of the driver, is unable or unwilling to pay the fare and has been unable or unwilling to satisfy the driver that he/she has the funds to pay the fare; or
  7. is a grossly unclean person."

The above-noted requirements are consistent with those found in other Ontario municipalities.

Taxicab Driver Training Staff Recommendations:

  1. That a taxicab driver training and testing program be developed and designed to provide convenient and cost-effective training for taxicab drivers.
  2. That the City play a regulatory, rather than an administrative, role in the provision of taxicab driver training.
  3. That City Clerk Services staff report back to the Operational Services Committee on program details and costs associated with the taxicab driver training no later than May, 2003.
  4. That the cost of the training program be borne by the applicants.
  5. That existing taxicab drivers be required to take the taxicab-training course within a period of two years from program implementation.
  6. That upon program implementation, taxicab driver applicants must take the first available driver training course prior to obtaining a licence.
  7. That all taxicab drivers be required to take a refresher course every five years, or be required to take a written test, and upon passing, be exempt from taking the refresher course.
  8. That the following provisions be enacted:

"A licensed taxicab driver may refuse to pick up a passenger if the passenger:

    1. is intoxicated or disorderly; or
    2. refuses to give their destination; or
    3. is in the possession of an animal other than a medical aid animal; or
    4. is eating or drinking any food or beverage; or
    5. has not paid a previous fare; or
    6. is in the opinion of the driver unable or unwilling to pay the fare and has been unable or unwilling to satisfy the driver that he/she has the funds to pay the fare; or
    7. is a grossly unclean person."

 

Taxicab Vehicle Requirements

Background

According to the research conducted by BMA, the average Canadian taxicab is driven 120,000 km each year. In contrast, a typical automobile is driven 24,000 km annually. In Oshawa, the average age of a taxicab exceeds 10 years. High mileage coupled with the age of the fleet, pose significant difficulties in terms of ensuring vehicles remain safe and comfortable for passengers. Oshawa taxicab vehicle owners maintain the age of Oshawa taxicabs is directly related to the fact that fares have not increased since 1996. To keep costs down, taxicab vehicle owners have purchased older vehicles and have kept them in service for as long as possible. Although older vehicles have higher maintenance and operating costs, the insurance and purchase prices are much lower and there are additional tax advantages associated with older used vehicles. Many of these older vehicles are only driven for one to two years due to their condition and age at the time of purchase.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 41–47):

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a series of recommendations regarding taxicab vehicle requirements, the most notable being the implementation of a six model year vehicle age restriction for all Oshawa taxicabs to be phased in over a four year period of time.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC agreed with the majority of BMA’s recommendation regarding taxicab vehicle requirements including age restrictions. However, rather than the implementation of a six model year vehicle restriction and associated phase-in period, the TLC proposed the following seven model year restriction and a six year phase in period:

 

Staff Analysis

Vehicle Age Restrictions

As the regulator of the Oshawa taxi industry, one of the City’s primary concerns is ensuring effective, quality taxicab service to the public in vehicles that are safe, well maintained and comfortable. The City annually receives several complaints about taxicab vehicle condition and appearance. During the course of the Study conducted by BMA, a number of concerns regarding vehicle condition were also voiced by the public, taxi drivers and taxicab vehicle owners.

A number of Ontario municipalities, such as the City of Hamilton and the City of Ottawa, have implemented some form of vehicle age restrictions to combat problems regarding vehicle condition and have subsequently noticed significant improvements in the overall quality of their vehicles.

During the consultation process, BMA asked industry participants about the implementation of vehicle age restrictions in Oshawa. Taxicab vehicle owners expressed concerns about the cost of purchasing newer vehicles. Some industry participants felt the age of the vehicle was not a good indicator of the quality of the vehicle, citing some of the older vehicles in the fleet were actually in better condition than some of the newer vehicles. Some also felt a car’s overall condition should be determined by usage and maintenance, rather than by the model year. Others felt implementation of requirements based on a combination of age and kilometres was a better approach. Some voiced concerns that a vehicle’s kilometres can be easily tampered with and should therefore not be used in evaluating the vehicle condition. Another suggested the City consider a combination of vehicle age and years in service as a taxicab, as this method accounts for the high mileage and the stop and go conditions of urban driving.

City Clerk Services believe the introduction of vehicle age restrictions will increase current vehicle standards in Oshawa, thereby better ensuring public safety. Staff have reviewed the TLC’s proposal regarding vehicle age restrictions and because over 50% of Oshawa’s present taxis are over nine years old, staff feel the TLC’s phase in period is too long to achieve better vehicles in Oshawa. As such, City Clerk Services recommends the implementation of a six model year vehicle age restriction to be phased in over a four year period, beginning in October, 2003.

Additional Vehicle Requirements

To better ensure passenger comfort and quality of service City Clerk Services recommends that any taxicab vehicle added to the fleet after October 1, 2003 be a four door sedan or mini-van equipped with two rear passenger doors, with a minimum rear seat width of 54 inches from inside door to inside door, equipped with air conditioning, and have clear glass windows.

During the consultation process conducted by BMA, the issue of smoking in taxicabs was raised by a number of industry stakeholders. Due to the pending implementation of the Regional Smoking By-law, staff have determined it is not necessary at this time to amend the City's Taxicab By-law to address this issue.

Vehicle Safety Standard Certificates

BMA has recommended the City annually require three Safety Standards Certificates for vehicles over six years old. Taxicab vehicle owners are currently required to submit Safety Standards Certificates twice per year and City Clerk Services suggests an additional safety certificate requirement is not warranted. However, staff recommends the Taxicab By-law be amended to formally recognize the authority of the City Clerk to request additional safety certificates if required.

City Clerk Services also recommends that all licensed plate holders be required to report a taxicab off-road within seventy-two hours ("off-road" refers to a taxicab that is not in full time service , i.e. a minimum of 35 hours per week). It is further recommended that taxicabs be permitted to remain off-road for a period of no more than 60 days. As part of this process, plate holders will be required to inform Licensing staff of the reason the taxicab is off-road and will provide a safety certificate to the City upon vehicle repair. In certain circumstances, however, the City Clerk may waive the safety certificate requirement if he/she deems the repairs to be sufficiently minor in nature.

Vehicle Emergency Lighting

City Council previously passed a resolution requiring all taxicab vehicles to be equipped with emergency lights and an emergency alert system as part of two-way radio systems by no later than March 1, 2003. The enactment of an amending by-law to enact the above-noted directive was put on hold pending final resolution of the Oshawa taxi industry review. City Clerk Services recommends this directive be implemented as part of the overall regulatory reforms proposed in this report. It is further recommended that the deadline for implementing emergency lights and an emergency alert system be changed to October 1, 2003, to coincide with the proposed vehicle age restriction phase-in period. Further, City Clerk Services will continue to monitor the effectiveness of other safety measures in use in other municipalities, such as in-car cameras and GPS and report back to the Operational Services Committee in the fall of 2003.

Vehicle Advertising

The Taxicab By-law does not currently permit taxicabs to display exterior advertising. The taxicab vehicle owners indicated advertising would provide additional revenues. BMA suggested the City permit advertising in taxicabs and that criteria be established with respect to the size and location of the advertising. City Clerk Services believes there is no reason for the City to define guidelines for advertising in taxicabs other than to ensure the advertising is not offensive and is in compliance with the City’s Sign By-law 72-96. Taxicab vehicle owners want the flexibility to advertise in or on their vehicles to provide a source of revenue. Given the anticipated additional expenses associated with matters such as vehicle age restrictions, City Clerk Services recommends the City's current restriction concerning exterior taxicab advertising be rescinded.

Taxicab Vehicle Requirements Staff Recommendations:

1. That all licensed taxicab vehicles in Oshawa cannot exceed six model years in age and these vehicle age restrictions are to be phased in over a period of four years such that:

2. That all licensed taxicabs added to the current taxicab fleet after October 1, 2003:

3. That all new licensed taxicabs operating under plates issued from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List not be eligible for a phase-in but must be a model year of no more than six model years old.

4. That the City Clerk be given the explicit authority to request additional Safety Standards Certificates as deemed necessary.

  1. That Safety Standards Certificates be submitted prior to a semi-annual inspection, dated not more than thirty-six days prior to the inspection. Failure by a taxicab vehicle owner to comply shall cause the taxicab to be out of service.
  2. That all licensed taxicabs in Oshawa be equipped with emergency lights and an emergency alert system as part of the two-way radio no later than October 1, 2003.

  1. That City Clerk Services staff continue to track the effectiveness of measures such as in-car cameras and GPS and report back to the Operational Services Committee in October, 2003.

  1. That all licensed taxicab plate holders be required to report a vehicle off-road within seventy-two hours and that taxicabs can only remain off-road for a period of no more than 60 days. The plate holder must identify to the City the reason for the vehicle being off-road and provide a safety certificate to the City upon vehicle repair. The definition of off-road shall include any taxicab not in full time service (minimum 35 hours per week). In certain circumstances the safety certificate requirement may be waived at the discretion of the City Clerk.
  2. That the City's current restrictions on exterior taxicab advertising be rescinded, and that exterior taxicab advertising be required to comply with City of Oshawa Sign By-law 72-96.

By-Law Enforcement

Background

The Taxicab By-law contains a number of provisions regarding by-law enforcement. The provisions contained in the current Taxicab By-law require revision in a number of areas in order to ensure By-law Enforcement Officers are equipped with adequate enforcement regulations.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 48–54)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a series of recommendations regarding by-law enforcement including increased fines for by-law violations, implementation of a re-inspection fee, and the inclusion of a definition of interior and exterior vehicle condition in the Taxicab By-law.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC generally agreed with BMA’s recommendations regarding by-law enforcement.

Staff Analysis

By-law Enforcement Officers are the primary enforcing agent of Taxicab By-law 102-2000. In accordance with the By-law, Officers inspect each licensed taxicab at least twice annually. Concerns have emerged regarding the mechanical expertise of Officers. To address this, BMA recommended the City enlist the services of an experienced, independent mechanic to serve as a technical resource for the By-Law Enforcement Officers during all inspections and the fee for this service be recovered from taxicab plate holders. For the last three taxicab inspections, City Clerk Services has used the services of such a mechanic and staff is in favour of continuing this practice for each mandatory taxi inspection.

The present Taxicab By-law makes taxicab vehicle owners responsible for some aspects of vehicle condition and taxicab drivers responsible for others. This has created a situation whereby taxicab drivers frequently contact Licensing staff to report vehicle deficiencies instead of notifying the taxicab vehicle owner. City Clerk Services recommends taxicab vehicle owners and drivers be held equally responsible for the vehicle condition and cleanliness under the Taxicab By-law. City Clerk Services also recommends taxicab drivers be responsible for reporting problematic vehicle conditions to the taxicab vehicle owner immediately. To assist in this regard, City Clerk Services recommends the implementation of a requirement for taxicab drivers to complete a ‘circle check’, similar to that included as Attachment I, prior to the start of each shift. Taxicab drivers would be required to indicate completion of the circle check on his/her manifest prior to the commencement of his/her shift. This documentation will be used by By-law Enforcement Officers during random and mandatory inspections to enforce provisions of the Taxicab By-law.

By-law Enforcement Staff Recommendations:

  1. That the following fines be approved for submission to be included in the short-form wording application:
  2. Short Form Wording

    Current

    Recommended Fee

    Plate Holder/Driver – taxicab exterior not in good condition

    No set fine

    $150

    Plate Holder/Driver – failure to surrender taxicab vehicle for inspection

    No set fine

    $300

    Plate Holder/Driver – taxicab not free from mechanical defects

    No set fine

    $200

    Plate Holder – failure to complete required repairs

    $105

    $200

    Plate Holder – failure to obtain proper insurance

    No set fine

    $300

    Plate Holder/Driver – operating a taxicab with a defective or unsealed meter

    $105

    $300

  3. That By-law Enforcement Officers conduct a minimum of two mandatory and two random annual inspections on all licensed taxicabs; and, that By-law Enforcement Officers conduct at least one of these inspections prior to renewal of the Plate Holder Licences.
  4. That City Clerk Services continue to enlist the services of an experienced, independent mechanic to serve as a technical resource for By-law Enforcement Officers during all mandatory inspections and the fee for this service be recovered from Taxicab Plate Holder Licences.
  5. That the following definition of interior vehicle cleanliness be included in the by-law:

5. That the following definition of exterior vehicle cleanliness be included in the by-law:

6. That no driver or taxicab vehicle owner shall operate or permit to be operated any taxicab unless it:

  1. That every taxicab driver be required to complete a circle check prior to the commencement of his/her shift; and that every taxicab driver be required to verify completion of a circle check on his/her manifest prior to commencement of his/her shift and be required to keep a copy of the manifest which is current for the immediate preceding three months and produce it for inspection by City officials on demand.

8. That By-law Enforcement Officers be given explicit authority to:

Taxicab Fares

Background

The Taxicab By-law establishes the rates for fares to be charged to passengers. In the past, fares were reviewed on an annual basis. Council last approved and implemented a rate increase in October 1996. The issue of taxicab fare increases has been frozen since 1998.

From the industry perspective, the objective of increasing fares is to increase revenues and offset increased operating costs. From the public perspective, the result of increased fares should be enhanced service. In determining fares, taxi regulators attempt to balance industry and public needs by seeking to improve service when increasing fares. Ideally, fare increases should accompany other regulatory steps to ensure success in improved service.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 55–56)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA recommended taxicab fares be increased by 6% to offset inflationary costs that have occurred since the last fare increase in 1996 and to bring Oshawa more in line with the fares of neighbouring municipalities. BMA also recommended the City no longer permit brokerage companies to provide discounts to any groups other than seniors and the disabled; that the City institute a charge of 75 cents per additional passengers beyond 4; and that City staff undertake an annual review of taxicab fares to ensure Oshawa fares are kept up to date.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC is in agreement with BMA’s recommendations on taxicab fares, with the exception that they disagreed with the City limiting forms of discounts. Instead, the TLC proposed the City impose a maximum discount of 12% for any groups deemed appropriate by the industry.

 

Staff Analysis

As the regulator of the Oshawa taxicab industry, the City must attempt to create a balance between reasonable taxicab fares and an adequate rate of return. One of the difficulties in doing this is that full financial disclosure from industry stakeholders is, for the most part, not forthcoming. As such, there is no way to ascertain with any degree of accuracy, the average income of a taxicab driver, etc. BMA completed an extensive survey of taxi rates in municipalities and such a comparative survey is presently the only benchmark available for use in determining rates.

Inflationary Increases

BMA surveyed customers and asked if they would object to an increase in taxicab fares if they received better service and taxicabs. Of the customers surveyed, 52% indicated they would not object. During the focus groups conducted by BMA, there was no consensus among participants concerning the need for a fare increase. For instance, some taxicab drivers voiced concern that a fare increase would result in a loss of ridership, while other drivers were concerned about the current discounting practice of large contracts which has a negative impact on their ability to receive a fair income for the services provided. Vehicle owners and plate holders, on the other hand, maintained that a significant fare increase is required to bring Oshawa fares up to date and to offset increased operating costs. Many of the plate holders indicated current costs exceed the revenues as a result of escalating costs, with no commensurate increase in fares. The plate holder also estimated that their costs have increased by approximately 40% over the past five years.

City Clerk Services supports BMA’s recommendation for a 6% fare increase in 2002. Such an increase is needed in order to bring the fares up to date and to offset increased operating costs that have been incurred since 1996. Staff also recommends fares be reviewed in October annually, to coincide with the semi-annual safety inspections. Lastly, City Clerk Service recommends the City Clerk be given authority to determine (after obtaining stakeholder input) and approve the fare increases administratively, as required, based on the cost of living figures obtained from Statistics Canada.

Discounts

Under the current Taxicab By-law, taxi brokerages must submit for Council approval all contracts for fare discounts. BMA recommended any current contracts be appropriately filed and approved and remain in effect until the termination date noted in the contract. City Clerk Services recommends the City discontinue its involvement in the regulation of corporate contracts for discounts. Taxi brokers are operating a business and should be responsible for their own business decisions without undue involvement from the City.

Taxicab Fares Staff Recommendations:

  1. That taxicab fares be increased by 6% effective December 31, 2002.
  2. That City Clerk Services review taxicab fares in October annually to coincide with the semi-annual safety inspections and the City Clerk be given authority to determine and approve the fare increases administratively, as required, based on the cost of living figures from Statistics Canada.
  3. That the current provisions regarding corporate contracts be rescinded.

Issuing New Plates

Background

Presently, there are 86 regular taxicab plates held in Oshawa. The City has not issued any new plates since 1998. The City currently uses an administrative tool referred to as the Priority Waiting List to determine who will receive new plates (see Attachment J). To qualify for a plate under this system, individuals must be employed in the taxi industry on a full-time basis for at least two consecutive years immediately preceding the application. Currently, the operational definition of full-time includes anyone currently holding a taxicab licence and anyone holding a plate, regardless of whether or not they actually provide any taxicab service in Oshawa or another municipality. The two-year service requirement must be met at the time the City is ready to issue a plate. Therefore, upon applying to be placed on the List, the only requirement of an applicant is to submit a Criminal Information Report. Applicants are not required to reapply or re-qualify at any time. With minimal eligibility criteria and no renewal requirements, there is no incentive for applicants to have a commitment to work in the Oshawa taxi industry. A side effect of this is that the List has grown to be quite long over the past 25 years, and currently has 120 applicants. Further, the individual currently holding the number one position on the List was added in 1977.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 61–66)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a series of recommendations regarding the issuance of new plates. These included:

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC did not agree with a number of BMA’s plate issuance recommendations. For instance, they recommended that the driving experience of applicants be at least five consecutive years and not two years as recommended by BMA and that the plates issued from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List have a limited transferability to allow a plate holder to sell the plate to someone else for a profit.

The TLC also disagreed with BMA’s recommendation that applicants transferred from the existing Priority Waiting List to the PIEL who do not meet the new eligibility criteria have two years to become eligible. They recommended the wording be changed to read "That the applicants from the existing Priority Waiting List be transferred to the PIEL and that in the event that the applicants on the Priority Waiting List do not meet the new eligibility criteria, the City Clerk will purge the PIEL to eliminate the applicants that have not met the qualifications."

Staff Analysis

There is general agreement from the Oshawa taxicab industry that maintaining some form of an eligibility list is the most equitable and appropriate manner to issue new plates in Oshawa. City Clerk Services recommends the current Priority Waiting List be abolished and a Plate Issuance Eligibility List (PIEL) created. It is also recommended the following criteria be established for the PIEL:

City Clerk Services recommends that only those individuals listed on the existing Priority Waiting List who meet the above-noted eligibility criteria be transferred to the new PIEL in the order in which their names appear on the current Priority Waiting List. All new eligible plate holder applicants will be added to the PIEL in order of application. The City Clerk will review the PIEL on an on-going basis by the City Clerk and the names of those individuals that do not meet the eligibility requirements be deleted.

City Clerk Services recommends all plates issued from the PIEL continue to be the property of the City of Oshawa and be non-transferable. Further, in order to distinguish the new non-transferable plates from the existing (standard) plates, it is also recommended that all plates issued from the PIEL be referred to as "Executive" plates.

The creation of a PIEL addresses existing plate issuance deficiencies by implementing stricter eligibility criteria and by encouraging new entrants to the taxicab industry in Oshawa. It also moves the City toward an owner/operator industry model.

To help ensure transparency and accountability in the taxicab industry, City Clerk Services recommends all new plate holders be required to belong to a taxicab brokerage licensed by the City of Oshawa. It is also recommended that the City’s current brokerage requirements be amended to require an applicant for a Brokerage Licence to have a minimum of three plates.

Issuing New Plates Staff Recommendations:

  1. That the current Priority Waiting List be abolished.
  2. That the City create and maintain a Plate Issuance Eligibility List (PIEL) to issue new taxicab plates to applicants meeting the criteria in order of their position on the PIEL.
  3. That the applicants from the existing Priority Waiting List who meet the new eligibility criteria be transferred to the Plate Issuance Eligibility List in the order in which their names appear on the current Priority Waiting List and that in the event that the applicants on the Priority Waiting List do not meet the new eligibility criteria, the City Clerk will eliminate the applicants that have not met the qualifications.

  1. That the following criteria be established for the Plate Issuance Eligibility List:

    1. To be eligible to receive a plate, an applicant must be a driver in the City of Oshawa for at least two consecutive years prior to the date that the application was filed and have been driving a cab in the City of Oshawa for at least 35 hours per week for 44 weeks of the last 12 month period before the date of the application.
    2. An applicant’s name can appear only once on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List.
    3. To stay on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List, the applicant must continue to drive on a full-time basis (35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year) and must renew their application annually and complete a statutory declaration attesting to their employment status.
    4. Should an applicant for reasons of illness or injury or other medical reasons, be unable to continue to drive on a full time basis (35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year), the applicant shall remain on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List if he/she files with the City Clerk, as soon as physically possible, a current medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner, covering the entire period of treatment, provided the medical treatment does not exceed two years.

  1. That new eligible applicants shall be added to the Plate Issuance Eligibility List in order of application.
  2. That the Plate Issuance Eligibility List be reviewed on an on-going basis by the City Clerk and the names of those individuals that do not meet the eligibility requirements be deleted.
  3. That plates issued from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List are the property of the City of Oshawa, non-transferable and shall be referred to as Executive plates.
  4. That no new plates be issued to anyone that held a taxicab plate during the previous five years, either directly or indirectly, through a corporation or independently.
  5. That at any period during his/her time on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List, should an applicant acquire, by transfer or otherwise, a plate holder licence or an interest of any kind, whether direct or indirect, or becomes a shareholder or partner in or acquires some other interest in a company or firm having an interest in a plate holder licence, the applicant’s name will be removed from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List.
  6. That to ensure those seeking a plate are committed to providing service to the public, all new plate holders shall be required to drive on a full time basis and shall be required to register with the City Clerk the names of any additional licensed and insured drivers authorized to drive his/her vehicle.
  7. That all plate holders be required to belong and solely operate under a brokerage licensed by the City of Oshawa.
  8. That the requirements for becoming a licensed brokerage be altered such that in order to qualify as a brokerage, you must have a service contract with a minimum of three plate holders. This may include plates held by the holder of the Brokerage Licence.

Plate Holder Requirements

Background

The current plate holder requirements contained in the present Taxicab By-law have resulted in some confusion in the industry. For instance, the By-law stipulates that individuals will not be granted a taxicab licence unless he/she establishes and maintains a valid insurance policy covering his/her taxicab. This clause implies the plate holder must also be the owner of the taxicab and be accountable for its operation. In the past, this has not necessarily been the case. For example, there are several vehicles owned and insured by one individual, but the plate on the vehicle is held by another individual.

In October, 2000, City Clerk Services brought forward a report to the Operational Services Committee which stated it was important for individual plate holders to be held accountable for the proper operation of the taxicab vehicles and for the conduct of taxicab drivers he/she may employ (see Attachment K). Ultimately, it is the plate holders that are subject to the removal and/or suspension of taxicab plates. This report was tabled for further consideration.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 67-68)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA recommended every licensed taxicab plate holder be required to own the vehicle to which the taxicab plate is affixed, be required to provide a copy of the Provincial Vehicle Ownership, (both the vehicle portion and the plate portion of the permit), and the insurance must indicate the vehicle and the plate are registered in the name of the licensed Oshawa taxicab plate holder. They have also recommended that no licensed plate holder shall, in any manner, permit a vehicle not owned by him/her to be operated under the authority of the City issued taxicab plate.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC did not formulate a final recommendation concerning the Plate Holder Requirements.

Staff Analysis

City Clerk Services agrees with BMA's recommendations concerning plate holder requirements. Once implemented, these recommendations will ensure individuals licensed as taxicab plate holders are fully responsible for the taxicab operating under that licence. These changes will improve accountability, improve enforcement, and require some individuals to actually become involved in the industry rather than passively profit from leasing plates.

Plate Holder Requirements Staff Recommendations:

  1. That no licensed plate holder shall, in any manner permit a taxicab not owned by him/her to be operated under the authority of that holder’s City issued licence plate.
  2. That effective October 1, 2003, every licensed taxicab plate holder be required to own the vehicle to which the City of Oshawa taxicab plate is affixed and be required to provide a copy of the Provincial Vehicle Ownership; and that both the vehicle portion and the plate portion of the permit and the insurance must indicate the vehicle and the plate are registered in the name of the licensed Oshawa taxicab plate holder.

Number of Plates

Background

The City’s goals in regulating the number of plates issued are to ensure an adequate availability of service and to provide for a reasonable profitability of service. The City’s objectives are:

Taxicab plates are currently issued based on a ratio of one licence for every 1,500 residents in Oshawa as per the latest revised population figures available from the Provincial assessment office (MPAC). The formula does not take into account restricted licences for special wheelchair vehicles.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 69–74)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA recommended the City maintain the existing ratio of one plate for every 1,500 residents and that the City issue the plates in 2002 based on the calculated ratio using the latest population statistics from Statistics Canada (annual estimates and the five year actuals). BMA extensively surveyed other municipalities and determined a population/taxi ratio is a widely used plate issuance method and that one plate for every 1,500 residents is comparable with other municipalities They have also recommended that in 2002, the City issue seven new plates in accordance with the latest population statistics available from Statistics Canada released March 12, 2002, and that the City review the ratio every three years to ensure the ratio continues to be appropriate.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC recommends the plate to resident ratio and the recommendation that seven new plates be issued based on the latest population statistics be tabled for further consideration. They agreed the City should review the ratio every three years to ensure the ratio continues to be appropriate.

Staff Analysis

The Taxicab By-law establishes specific limits on the number of plates that can be issued and provides a formula to be employed in expanding the number of plates. There is very little evidence supporting the notion that the removal of plate number limits will result in improved service delivery. Indeed, jurisdictions that have removed plate limits have generally experienced negative outcomes such as lower quality cabs and less experienced drivers. Approximately half of the U.S. cities that removed plate limits have taken steps to re-impose them. Given the above, City Clerk Services staff maintain there is no reason to remove plate limits in Oshawa and recommend the present population/taxi ratio system be retained. However, because the City has not issued any new plates in over four years and regardless of the growth in population which would warrant seven new plates immediately, it is recommended three plates be issued in 2002. Further issuance will take place in 2004, after staff has had an opportunity to monitor the new issuance criteria and procedures prior to issuing other plates.

Number of Plates Staff Recommendations

  1. That the City maintain the existing ratio of one plate for every 1,500 residents and that the latest population statistics from Statistics Canada be reviewed and annually applied to the ratio to determine if additional plates are to be issued.
  2. That the City Clerk annually issue new plates within three months of the annual population statistics from Statistics Canada (annual estimates and the five year actuals) becoming publicly available, if warranted, in order to ensure that plates are issued on a regular and timely basis.
  3. That, notwithstanding Part 1, the City Clerk issue three new plates in 2002 and monitor the subsequent impact of the issuance of these three plates on the industry.

Plate Transfers

Background

The City’s objectives in regulating plate transfers is to ensure appropriate means of control and accountability are developed and enforced, to ensure regulations permit fair competition, and to create a regulatory environment that permits people who work in the system to share fairly in the costs and benefits.

There are currently 86 regular taxicab plates available for distribution in Oshawa. These are held by 20 different individuals and/or corporations (see Attachment L). Generally,

In accordance with the present Taxicab By-law, Taxicab Vehicle Plate Holder Licences are the property of the City, and are issued to successful applicants based on individual merit. Accordingly, Taxicab Vehicle Plate Holder Licences are non-transferable, except in strict accordance with the provisions of the By-law. Essentially, in order for a transfer to occur, the City charges a nominal fee to the transferee who must prove they were employed full-time in the taxicab industry for the past two years. In the past, Licensing staff have interpreted this to include anyone holding a taxicab plate for two years, without actually being employed on a full-time basis as a driver, dispatcher or broker. This approach has also allowed a plate holder to hold multiple plates. Although the City does not allow corporations to be on the Priority Waiting List, it does allow plates to be transferred in the name of a corporation.

According to BMA, individuals and corporations that have acquired a plate can realize an annual return of approximately 5% by simply leasing out the City’s plate. Plates are often turned over to a designated agent or "manager" who purchases a vehicle and hires drivers to provide the service to the public. This results in a leakage of funds out of the taxicab industry and reduces the amount of funds available for vehicle maintenance and improvements to the quality of the vehicles currently used. This situation is not unique to Oshawa. Current plate holders maintain they have invested goodwill, time and money into the industry and are entitled to a reasonable rate of return on their investments. In fact, the taxicab plate in Oshawa is widely viewed as a form of pension plan despite the fact the City retains the authority to make changes to the regulatory regime, and has in fact done so in the past. Not surprisingly, plate holders in the focus group session were in favour of maintaining the current model of allowing plate transfers.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 75–84)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a number of recommendations regarding plate transfers. These include:

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The Taxi Liaison Committee proposed the following alternate criteria for plate recipients:

The TLC was opposed to BMA’s recommendations concerning a ten-year phase out period for plate transferability as well as with BMA’s recommendations regarding estates.

Staff Analysis

The single most controversial item in the Oshawa taxicab industry, next to eliminating the cap on the number of plates, is the current practice of plate transfer. Because the City does not currently limit the number of plates a person may hold, does not require plate holders to drive taxicab, does not expressly prohibit plates to be leased and allows plate transfers to occur, a significant financial value has been attributed to the existing City plates. Most significantly, by allowing transfers to take place, the City effectively limits new participants to only those with sufficient funds to "purchase" a plate. Those who want to drive a taxicab must either work for someone else or invest a considerable amount of money to purchase a plate from an existing plate holder.

Many of the individuals and corporations currently holding City plates have obtained them through a transfer and have paid a significant amount of money to a third party to obtain the plate. Plates have become a commodity that is regularly traded although on terms not authorized or disclosed to the City.

As the regulator of the taxicab industry, the City has no responsibility to recognize, protect or nourish a "street value" of plates. Nevertheless, even though the City is under no obligation to maintain the plate value for "purchasers", it is important to take into consideration the financial impact of eliminating the ability to transfer plates on current plate holders. An immediate discontinuation of plate transfers may be too disruptive to the industry and could have negative implications on the provision of taxicab service in the City. While the immediate discontinuation of plate transfers would have a long-term negative financial impact on existing plate holders, as the plates would have no "resale" value, the existing plate holders are able to earn income by providing a service to the public.

Canadian courts have consistently ruled there is no vested right in a municipal business licence. Nonetheless, immediate discontinuation of plate transfers may result in lengthy legal challenges, as seen in other jurisdictions seeking to reform their taxicab industry. Based on the research conducted, no municipal example was found in Canada where plate transfers were immediately prohibited for existing plate holders.

Municipalities have typically elected to either grandfather existing plate holders or create a two-tiered structure whereby new plates issued are non-transferable. Recently, the City of Toronto won a decisive victory in its fight to continue to issue non-transferable ambassador plates. The plate holders took legal action to protect the perceived worth of their plates on the secondary market, which they argued the City was devaluing by introducing more plates. The judges ruled the City has the legal authority under the Municipal Act to issue more plates.

City Clerk Services recommends that effective January 1, 2004, existing plates can only be transferred to individuals meeting the following criteria:

City Clerk Services recommends existing plate holders have until January 1, 2004 to transfer existing plates based on current practices before being subject to new transferability rules outlined in this report.

City Clerk Services also recommends that existing multiple plate holders within five years of the implementation of the new Taxicab By-law, be required to drive at least one of his/her taxicabs on a full-time basis. In cases where a corporation holds multiple taxicab plates, it is recommended that within this same five year period, at least one shareholder of the corporation be required to drive on a full-time basis.

In order to ensure Licensing records are maintained up-to-date, City Clerk Services recommends all corporations holding City plates be required to provide the City Clerk with the names of all shareholders, directors and managers and any changes to the corporate structure must be reported within five business days. Further, it is recommended that any new shareholders added to such a corporation be considered a plate transfer and as such, be subject to City approval in accordance with plate holder eligibility requirements.

The recommendations advanced by City Clerk Services regarding transfers are a departure from those advanced by BMA. The staff recommendations provide a very reasonable transition period for the industry to adjust to new plate user criteria and to allow those who have invested in purchasing a plate to recover the investment. The staff recommendations allow new plate holders to enter the industry and to establish an owner/operator system that improves accountability and quality.

Other municipalities, notably the City of Toronto, have gone to court over the issuance of additional plates. In the City of Toronto case, the court ruled that the City had the authority to issue additional plates and create a separate class of plates.

It is important to note that all taxicab plates issued by the City remain the ownership of the City and that any transfers are subject to the Taxicab By-law requirements as they may be amended from time to time. If accepted by Council, the revised by-law would, with plate owners having to be car owners, with owners having to also be drivers and with the new Plate Issuance Eligibility List, over a period of time achieve an owner/operator plate structure as advocated in the BMA Study, however in a method which eliminates the challenges other municipalities have experienced.

In summary, should Council adopt the above-noted recommendations, the City would issue two different classes of taxicab licences, Standard (the present 88 plates) and Executive (any new plates).

Standard Licences

Executive Licences

  • Unlimited transferability under the current system until January 1, 2004.
  • Non-transferable.
  • Transferability restricted to individuals on the PIEL after January 1, 2004.
  • To be issued only to those individuals on the PIEL.

With respect to the heir to an estate of a deceased plate holder, City Clerk Services recommends the estate of a deceased plate holder with more than one Standard Plate be required to transfer or surrender all but one Standard Plate to the City within twelve months of the date of death. It is further recommended that the estate of a deceased plate holder holding non-transferable Executive Plates revert back to the City within three months of the plate holders death.

Plate Transfers Staff Recommendations:

  1. That existing plate holders have until January 1, 2004 to transfer existing plates based on current practices before being subject to new transferability rules.
  2. That effective January 1, 2004, existing plates can only be transferred to those individuals meeting the following criteria:

  1. That all new plates issued from the PIEL shall be referred to as "Executive Plates" and shall be non-transferable.
  2. That within five years of implementation of the new Taxicab By-law, existing multiple plate holders must drive at least one of his/her taxicabs on a full-time basis.
  3. That within five years of implementation of the new Taxicab By-law, at least one shareholder of a corporation holding one or more plates must drive on a full-time basis.
  4. That corporations holding plates must provide the City Clerk with the names of all shareholders, directors and managers and any changes to the corporate structure must be filed within five business days.
  5. That any new shareholders added to a corporation holding City taxicab plates will constitute a transfer and be subject to City approval under the plate holder eligibility requirements and policies.
  6. That the estate of a deceased taxicab plate holder be required to transfer, if permitted under the by-law, or return to the City of Oshawa all plates held by the estate within twelve months of the date of death of a plate holder.

Fees

Background

The City currently charges a number of licence fees associated with the regulation of taxicab services, including:

Licence

Term and Fee

  • Driver Licence

$10 for two years

  • Plate Holder Licence

$130 annually

  • Broker Licence

$65 annually

  • Change of Vehicle

$80

  • Transfer of Taxicab Plate Holder Licence

$110

Under Section 257.2(3) of the current Municipal Act, the Council of a municipality shall take into account the costs of administering and enforcing the by-laws of the municipality when setting the amount of fees to be charged for a licence. Under Section 150(9) of the new Municipal Act, the total amount charged for licensing a class of business shall not exceed the costs directly related to the administration and enforcement of the by-laws. It is standard industry practice for municipalities to either partially or fully recover the administrative and enforcement costs through licensing fees.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 87–90)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA recommended the full cost of providing the regulatory services, including the administration of the licences, handling of complaints, overhead and enforcement of the regulations be included in the calculation of fees. In accordance with this philosophy, they proposed a number of fee increases. BMA also proposed the introduction of two new fees. The first was a $20 fee for the re-inspection of a taxicab by By-law Enforcement Officers which does not involve checking the calibration of the taxicab meter, the second is for the re-inspection of a taxicab by By-law Enforcement Officers involving the inspection of the taxicab meter which tends to take additional time for the Officers to complete.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The Taxi Liaison Committee generally agreed with the proposed increase in licensing fees proposed by BMA.

Staff Analysis

Taxi-related licensing fees in Oshawa are considerably lower than other municipalities and presently do not cover the costs of administering and enforcing the Taxicab By-law. From a public policy perspective, by not recovering the costs associated with the licensing of this industry, the City essentially provides an indirect and unintended subsidy to the industry at the taxpayers expense. City Clerk Services recommends the new licensing fees proposed by BMA be adopted. These fees are based on a full cost recovery.

 

Fees Staff Recommendations:

  1. That the City institute the following fee schedule:
  2. Licence

    Current Term and Fee

    Recommended Term and Fee

    Driver Licence

    $10 for two years

    $70 annually

    Taxicab Plate Holder Licence

    $130 annually

    $200 annually

    Broker Licence

    $65 per location (annually)

    $75 annually

    Change of Vehicle

    $80

    $100

    Transfer of Taxicab Plate Licence

    $110

    $200

    Re-inspection Fee without taxicab meter

    $20

    Re-inspection Fee with taxicab meter

    $35

  3. That a calculation of fees for driver training and testing be completed once the program has been designed.

Taxi Advisory Committee

Background

The Operational Services Committee is responsible for the review and monitoring of the taxi regulations and forwarding recommendations to City Council. The Taxi Liaison Committee was also formed to deal with specific issues and is comprised of a member of Council, three staff members, three taxicab drivers and three taxicab plate holders.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 91-92)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA recommended the establishment of a permanent Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC) comprised of members of Council, representatives from the taxicab industry, the tourism industry and from the general public and that City staff and representatives from the taxicab industry be non-voting members. The proposed TAC would monitor progress in the implementation of changes in the regulatory environment and would provide input and feedback to the Operational Services Committee on issues facing the taxicab industry.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The TLC agreed with BMA's proposed recommendations with the exception that they felt industry representatives should participate on the TAC as voting members.

Staff Analysis

Since its inception, the Taxi Liaison Committee has dealt with a number of important issues. However, a re-occurring problem with the TLC has been the lack of a clear understanding of the mandate of the Committee as well as the composition of the Committee itself. The Committee currently votes on issues where the members have a financial interest in the outcome of the decisions and typically votes are cast based on these alignments. Further, staff are voting members of the Committee which is highly unusual.

During BMA's consultation process, concern was expressed that important decisions are made by the City without sufficient consultation, and that the TLC is not adequately representing the industry's needs. In addition, frustration was voiced regarding the fact that decisions made by the TLC were not subsequently brought forward to the Operational Services Committee for review and consideration.

Based on BMA's research, it appears several Ontario municipalities have created advisory bodies similar to the Taxi Liaison Committee to provide their Councils with on-going policy advice relative to their respective taxi industries (see Attachment M). City Clerk Services recommends the current Taxi Liaison Committee be dissolved and a Taxicab Advisory Committee (TAC) be established to monitor, among other things, the transition under a new regulatory framework. The Committee should include:

City Clerk Services staff would provide policy advice but would not be voting members. The mandate of the Committee would be to monitor progress in the implementation of changes in the regulatory environment and to provide input and feedback on issues facing the taxicab industry. The City, as the regulator does not represent the taxi industry, but rather is there to protect and represent the general public. The role of the Taxicab Advisory Committee would be used as a vehicle to receive input and updates from the industry. Members for the TAC will be selected based on Oshawa City Council's Committee Appointment procedure. The length of term for Committee members will be up to three years and staggered to ensure continuity of knowledge and work. Once established, City staff would work with the Taxi Advisory Committee to establish a Terms of Reference that would require Council approval.

Taxicab Advisory Committee Staff Recommendations:

  1. That a Taxi Advisory Committee be established to monitor progress in the implementation of changes in the regulatory environment and to provide input and feedback on issues facing the taxicab industry through the Operational Services Committee.
  2. That the voting membership of the Taxi Advisory Committee consist of:

3. That City Clerk Services staff participate as non-voting members to provide policy advice.

Accessible Service

Background

The disabled community of Oshawa has a unique set of needs. For obvious reasons, this community depends on the availability of accessible taxicab service. These people reasonably expect that accessible taxicab service will be available in the City.

From a taxicab plate holder's perspective, accessible vehicles represent a sizable initial expense. The role of the City in this matter is not to require that taxicabs provide accessible service but rather to devise a framework that encourages a sufficient number of plate holders make their taxicabs accessible.

At the current time, Handi Transit is the primary accessible service provider in Oshawa. However, Handi Transit is not an "on-demand" service. As such, accessible taxicabs play an integral role in accessible service provision. The Taxicab By-law provides for four special wheelchair accessible plate holder licences to be issued (two to Taxi Taxi; two to City Wide Taxi). At this point in time, only Taxi Taxi is providing some degree of accessible taxicab service in Oshawa. This has created significant gaps in accessible taxicab service availability and has resulted in numerous complaints to City Clerk Services.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 93–94)

It should be noted that accessible service was not included as part of BMA's primary review of the Oshawa taxicab industry. However, BMA did conduct some preliminary research through surveys of customers, taxicab drivers and service providers. Results pointed to the existence of a serious deficiency in accessible service provision in Oshawa. The holders of accessible plates have indicated that accessible vehicle standards, which are provincially mandated, are too costly to operate and therefore, under the current structure, are not financially viable. They also pointed to subsidies provided to other public transportation providers and suggested accessible plate holders were being asked to accommodate the unmet needs of accessible passengers at a high cost and without a subsidy.

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA suggests a full review of the accessible service in Oshawa be undertaken to address what appears to be a deficiency in accessible service provision. BMA also suggested the scope of such a study include, but not be limited to, the following:

Taxi Liaison Committee Recommendations

The Taxi Liaison Committee was in agreement with BMA's proposed recommendations.

Staff Analysis

The taxicab industry plays a significant role in assisting Handi Transit in the delivery of accessible transit services to the community. City Clerk Services has contacted Handi Transit regarding accessible service and have shared with them BMA's comments in this regard (see Attachment N).

Over the past year, City Clerk Services has received several complaints regarding the availability of accessible taxicab service in Oshawa, a sample of which is included (see Attachment O). Members of the City's disabled community have special transportation needs that must be accommodated as per The Ontarians with Disabilities Act. However, given the current regulatory environment in Oshawa, it is virtually impossible for the taxi industry to operate economically serving only persons with disabilities and adequate accessible service provision can only be provided if there are a reasonable number of accessible taxicabs. Current provincial legislation (Ontario Regulation 629) restricts the types of vehicles that can be used for accessible taxicabs to very institutional looking vans with the wheelchair spaces in the normal middle seat portion and seating for able-bodied passengers generally located in the back, third row position.

Jurisdictions such as British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec have adopted alternative regulations that permit the use of normal mini-vans with the wheelchair position in the rear. Such an approach facilitates rapid growth in accessible taxi fleets. In Ontario, the City of Ottawa received Council approval to approach the Province of Ontario and the Canadian Standard Association to request the establishment of new regulations for accessible taxicabs that are in general service but also capable of servicing disabled individuals and in particular, regulations that are consistent with vehicle designs that look and act like general purpose taxicabs (such as rear loading vans).

 

City Clerk Services recommends that the City request Handi Transit to conduct a full review of accessible service in Oshawa and explore new partnership arrangements with the Oshawa taxicab industry. City Clerk Services is also aware that the Region of Durham is currently preparing a Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF) Study reviewing traditional and specialized transit service (which includes accessible service) in Durham. As such, it is recommended that a copy of this staff report be sent to the Region of Durham for consideration as part of the RTTF.

Accessible Service Staff Recommendation:

  1. That City Council request Handi Transit to conduct a full review of the accessible service in Oshawa;
  2. That City Council direct Handi Transit to explore potential new service delivery partnerships with the Oshawa taxicab industry; and,
  3. That a copy of this report be referred to the Region of Durham for consideration in the preparation of the Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF) Study currently being conducted in Durham.

Customer Service

Background

In 2000, City Clerk Services established a Taxi Information Line to receive input from members of the public regarding the Oshawa taxi industry. BMA surveyed customers with respect to use of the Taxi Information Line.

Of those surveyed, 19% indicated they used the Line to make a complaint regarding taxicab service. Of the customers who indicated they made a complaint, 78% were satisfied with how the complaint was handled. Results further showed that the vast majority of complaints were made directly to the taxicab brokerage. It should be noted that 92% of the customers surveyed were not aware of the City's Information Line. As such, it is unlikely the City is fully aware of the magnitude or the frequency of complaints in the industry.

BMA Recommendations (BMA Study pages 95-98)

In the City of Oshawa Taxicab Industry Study, BMA made a series of customer service recommendations, including the establishment of a Passenger Bill of Rights and the establishment of a proactive program for violations committed under existing by-laws or applicable legislation and that a tracking and record reporting program be developed to provide ongoing information on driver/plate holder activities related to violations, convictions and warnings.

Taxi Liaison Committee Feedback

The Taxi Liaison Committee agreed with BMA's recommendations regarding improved customer service requirements.

Staff Analysis

Oshawa taxicab drivers have an obligation to provide professional and courteous service and to put passengers at ease. They have a responsibility for familiarizing themselves with the laws, rules and regulations governing the Oshawa taxicab industry. City Clerk Services recommends a list of Passenger Rights and Responsibilities be instituted and prominently displayed in all taxicabs to educate passengers and remind passengers and taxicab drivers of their respective rights and obligations (see Attachment P). This will help to ensure quality service provision.

City Clerk Services also recommends that taxicab brokerages be held accountable for following up on all complaints regarding taxicab driver behaviour, vehicle condition, etc.

 

Customer Service Staff Recommendations:

  1. That all licensed taxicabs in Oshawa be required to prominently display the City's phone number where compliments and complaints can be addressed.
  2. That the list of Passenger Rights and Responsibilities included as Attachment P be instituted and displayed in all licensed taxicabs to educate the customers and remind the taxicab driver of his/her obligations.
  3. That taxicab brokerages be held accountable for following up on all complaints received regarding taxicab driver behaviour, vehicle condition, etc.

STAFF IMPLICATIONS TO IMPLEMENT A NEW TAXI BY-LAW

Implementation of the proposed regulatory reforms will be an expanded service and will have an impact on staff resources. The workload associated with the reforms will have a direct impact on:

REFORM IMPLEMENTATION TIMETABLE

It is recommended that the recommendations contained in this report be effective upon implementation of the new Taxicab By-law. In the interim, advertisements will be placed in the local newspaper outlining new regulatory reforms.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

The implementation of the proposed regulatory reforms will revise fees and penalties for violations of the Taxicab By-law however, there will be additional budgetary expenditures required to implement and enforce the Taxicab By-law if proposed amendments are accepted by City Council. The Taxicab By-law requires significantly more day to day administration by Licensing and By-law Enforcement staff. The need for additional staff due to the Taxi By-law, as well as other by-laws passed by City Council in 2002 such as the Lodging House By-law, will be outlined in the 2003 City Clerk Services budget.

CONCLUSION

City Clerk Services is proposing a number of taxi regulatory reforms. These recommendations were based on a variety of inputs including the Oshawa Taxi Industry Study prepared by BMA, feedback from the Taxi Liaison Committee, impact statements received from taxi industry stakeholders, and consultation with other Canadian municipalities.

There are a significant number of stakeholders in the taxi industry in Oshawa with competing interests. As such, it is extremely difficult for the City to meet its regulatory obligations and satisfy all stakeholders in the process. The proposed recommendations will assist Oshawa in achieving its regulatory objectives which include improved public safety and consumer protection, the provision of quality service, ensuring adequate availability of service to meet demand and ensuring the regulations permit those in the industry to share fairly in the costs and benefits.

The most effective way to achieve higher standards is to establish a regulatory environment that encourages new entrants into the industry that are committed to providing quality service. Another goal in reforming the taxicab industry is to improve the accountability of all participants. This is accomplished by improving the relationships within the industry and by ensuring that when problems arise, those responsible are held accountable.

In order to ensure a smooth transition and to avoid unnecessary disruption in service, or financial hardship to those having invested in the current system, it will take time to develop a required framework that achieves all the goals and objectives of the City. During the phase-in period, the recommendations will raise the standards early in the process to increase the quality and safety of the service. Increased standards will, in many cases, have a direct impact on the cost of providing the service, therefore a phased-in approach is prudent with additional check points built in along the way until the standards have reached the desired level.

By approving the recommendations contained in this report the City will see an improvement in the age and quality of the vehicles operating as taxicabs. To provide a source of potential revenue, taxicab vehicle owners will now be permitted to seek advertisement revenues.

Increased City awareness of customer concerns will also be created by establishing a customer information line, developing a protocol to address customer complaints and by instituting a clearly visible list of Passenger Rights and Responsibilities in each taxicab.

Taxicab drivers will be trained in all aspects of providing safe and courteous service to the public. New plates will be issued only to owner/operated individuals that are committed to providing front-line service to the public. These plates will be non-transferable. Improved enforcement efforts and increased deterrents will be implemented to monitor new regulatory requirements.

Licensing fees will be increased to reflect the true cost of regulating the taxicab industry. Taxicab fares will also initially increase by 6% to offset inflationary increases.

The following comparison of the pre and post Oshawa taxicab industry is offered for consideration:

Current Oshawa Taxicab Industry

Post-Reform Oshawa Taxicab Industry

  • Limited Taxicab Driver Requirements
  • Increased Taxicab Driver Standards, including the implementation of a taxicab driver dress code.
  • Limited tools for By-law Enforcement Officers
  • Improved enforcement tools for By-law Enforcement Officers.
  • Limited regulations regarding taxicab driver safety
  • Improved taxicab driver safety (ie. emergency lights).
  • Limited vehicle standards
  • Increased vehicle standards through additional requirements regarding cleanliness, etc.
  • Average Age of Taxicab in excess of 10 years
  • Taxicabs will not exceed six model years.
  • No fare rate increase since October 1996.
  • 6% fare increase to offset inflationary costs and to bring Oshawa in line with industry standards
  • A Priority Waiting List containing the names of individuals not directly involved in the industry.
  • A Plate Issuance List containing the names of only qualified individuals
  • Limited plate issuance criteria that does not encourage new entrants to the industry and does not ensure individuals holding a City plate are actively involved in the industry or have a vested interest in making the industry better.
  • New plate issuance eligibility criteria that encourages new entrants to the Oshawa taxicab industry and ensures individuals holding a City plate are involved on a full-time basis in the industry and have a vested interest in making constant improvements to it.
  • No new plate issued since 1998
  • Three new plates to be issued in 2002 based on Statistics Canada information.
  • City issued plates are often leased without the knowledge of the City.
  • New transferability requirements that will increase transparency in the industry.
  • Fees that are inconsistent with industry standards and do not meet the cost recovery intent of the Municipal Act.
  • Licensing fees that are consistent with Industry standards as well as the new Municipal Act, provisions regarding cost-recovery.
    • A Taxi Liaison Committee with no clear mandate and a problematic Committee composition.
    • A Taxi Advisory Committee with a clear mandate and workable Committee composition.
    • Problems with accessible service levels.
    • Recommendation that a full review of accessible service in Oshawa be conducted by Handi Trans.
    • Limited customer service provisions.
    • Implementation of a list of Passenger Rights and Responsibilities as well as other provisions geared toward increased customer service.

    Should the Operational Services Committee and City Council approve the recommendations contained in this report, City Clerk Services and Legal and Real Estate Services staff will need to redraft the existing Taxicab By-law to reflect the changes, to prepare procedures and further develop some of the operational aspects associated with the recommendations. New and amended short-form wording and set fines will also need to be prepared.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    That the Operational Services Committee recommend to City Council:

    General

    That Taxicab By-law 102-2000 be repealed and that Legal and Real Estate Services Report back to Committee with a new by-law regulating the Oshawa taxi industry no later than January 13, 2003.

    1. Taxicab Driver Licensing Requirements

    1. That City Clerk Services, in consultation with the Durham Regional Police Service, develop new guidelines for the approval of applicants with criminal histories and poor driving records.
    2. That City Clerk Services, in consultation with the Durham Regional Police Service, develop a new protocol to address currently licensed drivers convicted with a serious crime(s).
    3. That City Clerk Services renew Taxicab Drivers Licences on an annual basis and that the annual renewal process include a review of the applicant's driving record in the form of a driver abstract.
    4. That a broker and any licensed taxicab drivers be required to notify the City Clerk within seven calendar days of any criminal charges or convictions.
    5. That all new taxicab drivers be required to have a minimum of two years class 'G' driving experience to be eligible to qualify for a Taxicab Drivers Licence.
    6. That all new taxicab drivers be required to submit a medical certificate prepared by a qualified medical practitioner, stating the applicant is physically and mentally capable of performing the duties of a taxicab driver and is free from communicable diseases;
    7. That the City Clerk be authorized to request submission of an updated medical certificate prepared by a qualified medical practitioner attesting as to whether or not the driver is fit and able to operate a taxicab, at any time the City Clerk determines public safety may be in jeopardy due to poor driver health;
    8. That the following provision be implemented: "That no licensed driver shall take, consume or have in their possession any alcohol or drugs prohibited by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or intoxicants while they are in charge of the taxicab for which they are a driver."
    9. That the following provision be implemented: "No licensed driver shall drive a taxicab unless they are well-groomed, neat and clean in personal appearance, and properly dressed in pants (no jeans and/or sweatpants) or skirt, a button-down shirt/blouse and/or golf shirt and shoes all free from obvious wear and tear."

    2. Taxicab Driver Training

    1. That a taxicab driver training and testing program be developed and designed to provide convenient and cost-effective training for taxicab drivers.
    2. That the City play a regulatory, rather than an administrative, role in the provision of taxicab driver training.
    3. That City Clerk Services staff report back to the Operational Services Committee on program details and costs associated with the taxicab driver training no later than May, 2003.
    4. That the cost of the training program be borne by the applicants.
    5. That existing taxicab drivers be required to take the taxicab-training course within a period of two years from program implementation.
    6. That upon program implementation, taxicab driver applicants must take the first available driver training course prior to obtaining a licence.
    7. That all taxicab drivers be required to take a refresher course every five years, or be required to take a written test, and upon passing, be exempt from taking the refresher course.
    8. That the following provisions be enacted:

    "A licensed taxicab driver may refuse to pick up a passenger if the passenger:

      1. is intoxicated or disorderly; or
      2. refuses to give their destination; or
      3. is in the possession of an animal other than a medical aid animal; or
      4. is eating or drinking any food or beverage; or
      5. has not paid a previous fare; or
      6. is in the opinion of the driver unable or unwilling to pay the fare and has been unable or unwilling to satisfy the driver that he/she has the funds to pay the fare; or
      7. is a grossly unclean person."

    3. Taxicab Vehicle Requirements

    1. That all licensed taxicab vehicles in Oshawa cannot exceed six model years in age and these vehicle age restrictions are to be phased in over a period of four years such that:

    2. That all licensed taxicabs added to the current taxicab fleet after October 1, 2003:

    3. That all new licensed taxicabs operating under plates issued from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List not be eligible for a phase-in but must be a model year of no more than six model years old.

    4. That the City Clerk be given the explicit authority to request additional Safety Standards Certificates as deemed necessary.

    1. That Safety Standards Certificates be submitted prior to a semi-annual inspection, dated not more than thirty-six days prior to the inspection. Failure by a taxicab vehicle owner to comply shall cause the taxicab to be out of service.
    2. That all licensed taxicabs in Oshawa be equipped with emergency lights and an emergency alert system as part of the two-way radio no later than October 1, 2003.

    1. That City Clerk Services staff continue to track the effectiveness of measures such as in-car cameras and GPS and report back to the Operational Services Committee in October, 2003.

    1. That all licensed taxicab plate holders be required to report a vehicle off-road within seventy-two hours and that taxicabs can only remain off-road for a period of no more than 60 days. The plate holder must identify to the City the reason for the vehicle being off-road and provide a safety certificate to the City upon vehicle repair. The definition of off-road shall include any taxicab not in full time service (minimum 35 hours per week). In certain circumstances the safety certificate requirement may be waived at the discretion of the City Clerk.
    2. That the City's current restrictions on exterior taxicab advertising be rescinded, and that exterior taxicab advertising be required to comply with City of Oshawa Sign By-law 72-96.

    4. By-Law Enforcement

    1. That the following fines be approved for submission to be included in the short-form wording application:

    Short Form Wording

    Current

    Recommended Fee

    Plate Holder/Driver – taxicab exterior not in good condition

    No set fine

    $150

    Plate Holder/Driver – failure to surrender taxicab vehicle for inspection

    No set fine

    $300

    Plate Holder/Driver – taxicab not free from mechanical defects

    No set fine

    $200

    Plate Holder/Driver – failure to complete required repairs

    $105

    $200

    Plate Holder/Driver – failure to obtain proper insurance

    No set fine

    $300

    Plate Holder/Driver – operating a taxicab with a defective or unsealed meter

    $105

    $300

    1. That By-law Enforcement Officers conduct a minimum of two mandatory and two random annual inspections on all licensed taxicabs; and, that By-law Enforcement Officers conduct at least one of these inspections prior to renewal of the Plate Holder Licences.
    2. That City Clerk Services continue to enlist the services of an experienced, independent mechanic to serve as a technical resource for By-law Enforcement Officers during all mandatory inspections and the fee for this service be recovered from Taxicab Plate Holder Licences.
    3. That the following definition of interior vehicle cleanliness be included in the by-law:

    5. That the following definition of exterior vehicle cleanliness be included in by-law:

    6. That no driver or taxicab vehicle owner shall operate or permit to be operated any taxicab unless it:

    1. That every taxicab driver be required to complete a circle check prior to the commencement of his/her shift; and that every taxicab driver be required to verify completion of a circle check on his/her manifest prior to commencement of his/her shift and be required to keep a copy of the manifest which is current for the immediate preceding three months and produce it for inspection by City officials on demand.

    8. That By-law Enforcement Officers be given explicit authority to:

    5. Taxicab Fares

    1. That taxicab fares be increased by 6% effective December 31, 2002.
    2. That City Clerk Services review taxicab fares in October annually to coincide with the semi-annual safety inspections and the City Clerk be given authority to determine and approve the fare increases administratively, as required, based on the cost of living figures from Statistics Canada.
    3. That the current provisions regarding corporate contracts be rescinded.

    1. Issuing New Plates

    1. That the current Priority Waiting List be abolished.
    2. That the City create and maintain a Plate Issuance Eligibility List (PIEL) to issue new taxicab plates to applicants meeting the criteria in order of their position on the PIEL.
    3. That the applicants from the existing Priority Waiting List who meet the new eligibility criteria be transferred to the Plate Issuance Eligibility List in the order in which their names appear on the current Priority Waiting List and that in the event that the applicants on the Priority Waiting List do not meet the new eligibility criteria, the City Clerk will eliminate the applicants that have not met the qualifications.

    1. That the following criteria be established for the Plate Issuance Eligibility List:

      1. To be eligible to receive a plate, an applicant must be a driver in the City of Oshawa for at least two consecutive years prior to the date that the application was filed and have been driving a cab in the City of Oshawa for at least 35 hours per week for 44 weeks of the last 12 month period before the date of the application.
      2. An applicant's name can appear only once on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List.
      3. To stay on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List, the applicant must continue to drive on a full-time basis (35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year) and must renew their application annually and complete a statutory declaration attesting to their employment status.
      4. Should an applicant for reasons of illness or injury or other medical reasons, be unable to continue to drive on a full time basis (35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year), the applicant shall remain on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List if he/she files with the City Clerk, as soon as physically possible, a current medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner, covering the entire period of treatment, provided the medical treatment does not exceed two years.

    1. That new eligible applicants shall be added to the Plate Issuance Eligibility List in order of application.
    2. That the Plate Issuance Eligibility List be reviewed on an on-going basis by the City Clerk and the names of those individuals that do not meet the eligibility requirements be deleted.
    3. That plates issued from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List are the property of the City of Oshawa and are non-transferable.
    4. That no new plates be issued to anyone that held a taxicab plate during the previous five years, either directly or indirectly, through a corporation or independently.
    5. That at any period during his/her time on the Plate Issuance Eligibility List, should an applicant acquire, by transfer or otherwise, a plate holder licence or an interest of any kind, whether direct or indirect, or becomes a shareholder or partner in or acquires some other interest in a company or firm having an interest in a plate holder licence, the applicant's name will be removed from the Plate Issuance Eligibility List.
    6. That to ensure those seeking a plate are committed to providing service to the public, all new plate holders shall be required to drive on a full time basis and shall be required to register with the City Clerk the names of any additional licensed and insured drivers authorized to drive his/her vehicle.
    7. That all plate holders be required to belong and solely operate under a brokerage licensed by the City of Oshawa.
    8. That the requirements for becoming a licensed brokerage be altered such that in order to qualify as a brokerage, you must have a service contract with a minimum of three plate holders. This may include plates held by the holder of the Brokerage Licence.

    1. Plate Holder Requirements

    1. That no licensed plate holder shall, in any manner permit a taxicab not owned by him/her to be operated under the authority of that holder's City issued licence plate.
    2. That effective October 1, 2003, every licensed taxicab plate holder be required to own the vehicle to which the City of Oshawa taxicab plate is affixed and be required to provide a copy of the Provincial Vehicle Ownership; and that both the vehicle portion and the plate portion of the permit and the insurance must indicate the vehicle and the plate are registered in the name of the licensed Oshawa taxicab plate holder.

    1. Number of Plates

    1. That the City maintain the existing ratio of one plate for every 1,500 residents and that the latest population statistics from Statistics Canada be reviewed and annually applied to the ratio to determine if additional plates are to be issued.
    2. That the City Clerk annually issue new plates within three months of the annual population statistics from Statistics Canada (annual estimates and the five year actuals) becoming publicly available, if warranted, in order to ensure that plates are issued on a regular and timely basis.
    3. That, notwithstanding Part 1, the City Clerk issue three new plates in 2002 and monitor the subsequent impact of the issuance of these three plates on the industry.

    1. Plate Transfers

    1. That existing plate holders have until January 1, 2004 to transfer existing plates based on current practices before being subject to new transferability rules.
    2. That effective January 1, 2004, existing plates can only be transferred to those individuals meeting the following criteria:

    1. That all new plates issued from the PIEL shall be referred to as "Executive Plates" and shall be non-transferable.
    2. That within five years of implementation of the new Taxicab By-law, existing multiple plate holders must drive at least one of his/her taxicabs on a full-time basis.
    3. That within five years of implementation of the new Taxicab By-law, at least one shareholder of a corporation holding one or more plates must drive on a full-time basis.
    4. That corporations holding plates must provide the City Clerk with the names of all shareholders, directors and managers and any changes to the corporate structure must be filed within five business days.
    5. That any new shareholders added to a corporation holding City taxicab plates will constitute a transfer and be subject to City approval under the plate holder eligibility requirements and policies.

    8. That the estate of a deceased taxicab plate holder be required to transfer, if permitted under the by-law, or return to the City of Oshawa all plates held by the estate within twelve months of the date of death of a plate holder.

     

    10. Fees

    1. That the City institute the following fee schedule:
    2. Licence

      Current Term and Fee

      Recommended Term and Fee

      Driver Licence

      $10 for two years

      $70 annually

      Taxicab Plate Holder Licence

      $130 annually

      $200 annually

      Broker Licence

      $65 per location (annually)

      $75 annually

      Change of Vehicle

      $80

      $100

      Transfer of Taxicab Plate Licence

      $110

      $200

      Re-inspection Fee without taxicab meter

      $20

      Re-inspection Fee with taxicab meter

      $35

    3. That a calculation of fees for driver training and testing be completed once the program has been designed.

    11. Taxicab Advisory Committee

    1. That a Taxi Advisory Committee be established to monitor progress in the implementation of changes in the regulatory environment and to provide input and feedback on issues facing the taxicab industry through the Operational Services Committee.
    2. That the voting membership of the Taxi Advisory Committee consist of:

    3. That City Clerk Services staff participate as non-voting members to provide policy advice.

    12. Accessible Service

    1. That City Council request Handi Transit to conduct a full review of the accessible service in Oshawa;
    2. That City Council direct Handi Transit to explore potential new service delivery partnerships with the Oshawa taxicab industry; and,
    3. That a copy of this report be referred to the Region of Durham for consideration in the preparation of the Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF) Study currently being conducted in Durham.

    13. Customer Service

    1. That all licensed taxicabs in Oshawa be required to prominently display the City's phone number where compliments and complaints can be addressed.
    2. That the list of Passenger Rights and Responsibilities included as Attachment P be instituted and displayed in all licensed taxicabs to educate the customers and remind the taxicab driver of his/her obligations.
    3. That taxicab brokerages be held accountable for following up on all complaints received regarding taxicab driver behaviour, vehicle condition, etc.

     

     

     

     

    _____________________________ _________________________________

    Don O'Leary, Commissioner Sandra Kranc

    Department of Corporate Services City Clerk

    Attachments


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