City Council has approved Vehicle for Hire Bylaw 17400 (see item 7.3), making Edmonton the first Canadian city to legalize ride share services.
The new bylaw will allow technology-based companies, such as mobile app dispatchers, to operate legally in Edmonton under a new class called Private Transportation Providers (PTPs). The new bylaw will come into effect March 1, 2016, providing time for the City of Edmonton and industry to begin introducing Edmontonians and vehicle for hire drivers to the new regulations.
The new regulatory framework affords consumer choice and safe service for Edmontonians, while complying with provincial regulations. It supports a diversified economy and innovation in the industry, creating a model that enables the taxi business and ride sharing services to co-exist.
The City strove to find the right balance between recognizing the long history of service by the taxi business and being responsive to innovation in the vehicle for hire industry. Changes to the industry will be closely monitored and adjustments made in the future, if necessary, to address potential issues, such as predatory pricing, that may have a negative impact.
Under the hybrid fare model in the new bylaw, both taxis and PTPs will be required to charge a minimum of $3.25 for any trip pre-arranged through a mobile app or written contract. Rates above the $3.25 minimum may be negotiated between the PTP or taxi, and the customer.
Only taxis will be permitted to pick up street hails or use taxi stands. Street hails, pick ups from taxi stands and trips arranged by telephone dispatch will be charged at a stipulated metered rate of $3.60 for the first 135 metres and $0.20 for each additional 135 metres or 24 seconds waiting time.
The City regulates the vehicle for hire program, which is funded on a cost recovery basis. Fees collected are used to pay for the resources needed to administer and enforce the bylaw.
The new bylaw establishes two types of PTP dispatcher: Regional PTPs operating less than 200 vehicles, and Commercial PTPs operating 200 or more vehicles
The licence fees will be the same between taxis and regional PTPs:
- Dispatcher/Broker: $1000/year
- Vehicle: $400/year
- Driver: $100/ 2 years or 60/year
Regional PTPs will also be required to pay an accessibility surcharge of $50 per vehicle.
Licence fees for Commercial PTPs will be:
- Dispatch: $50,000/year
- Vehicle/Driver: $0
- Per Trip Fee: $0.06
The new bylaw will continue to firmly uphold the standards set for public safety to protect passengers and drivers.
Drivers will be required to provide the City with proof of the proper insurance and class of driver’s licence (1, 2, or 4) as outlined in provincial law. Currently the only acceptable insurance is a valid commercial policy.
Criminal record checks and an annual vehicle inspection by a licensed garage and mechanic will also be required.
Fines for operating without a City driver’s licence or City vehicle licence under the new bylaw will be $5,000, and regular enforcement of unlicensed vehicles for hire will continue.
The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement. The regulations in the new bylaw are the result of wide-reaching research on emerging vehicle for hire business models from across North America, and extensive engagement with industry stakeholders and the public. Public input on fares was captured through a 400-person random sample telephone survey, and an online survey which received over 3000 responses.