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City issues Private Transportation Company licence to Uber

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Aug 17th, 2016

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One month after opening up applications, the City of Toronto has issued a Private Transportation Company (PTC) licence to Uber.

The PTC licensing category was created to accommodate ride-sharing services like Uber, which are enormously popular without being exactly legal.

Last month, private companies were given the green light to apply for the same license as taxi and limousine companies.

With the issuance of Uber’s PTC licence, the City will begin to screen and issue PTC driver’s licences to individuals performing vehicle-for-hire services through UberX. Screening includes criminal background and driver abstract checks, vehicle inspection certificates, and insurance.

There are approximately 20,000 Uber drivers in Toronto.

City council approved the PTC category in May. A few highlights:

    • With the new rules, taxis will be able to use surge-pricing – much like how Uber adds extra fees during busy times – but only for fares that are booked through an online app.
    • The base fare for Uber will increase by 75 cents to $3.25.
    • All vehicles must be inspected twice a year.
    • Uber drivers will also be required to get $2 million in liability insurance.
    • A proposal that would have required Uber vehicles to have winter tires was amended to allow for all-season tires.

The Uber ride-sharing program was granted a city of Toronto taxi brokerage licence in January, putting it on equal ground as regulated taxi companies such as Beck and Royal.

“I feel confident that within the next month and a half, two months, we should be in a place where we have gotten to a licensed private transportation option in the city, that’s my goal,” Cook said.

Toronto, like many cities around the world, has been struggling to monitor ride-sharing services since it first set up shop in 2012.

UberX, which has regular drivers transporting people in their private cars, lacks the regulation and oversight of traditional taxi companies. Taxi companies have argued that this puts passenger safety in jeopardy while simultaneously driving traditional cabbies out of business.

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