WINNIPEG – several amendments to the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw will be proposed for Council’s consideration later this week including a new safety surcharge that would apply to Personal Transportation Providers (PTP) Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.

“Over the last two weeks, I have been listening intently to the feedback received from many different industry and public stakeholders on the draft Vehicle for Hire Bylaw proposed by the public service,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “The public service has had the benefit of learning from many jurisdictions who have already been down this path before us, and what they’ve proposed already reflects extensive stakeholder engagement involving the taxi industry and organizations having a direct stake in the industry.”

“The changes being proposed today are a further refinement and improvement to what I believe was an already balanced starting point,” said Mayor Bowman.

A new safety surcharge of $0.03 per trip is being proposed for all PTP dispatchers reflecting the bylaw’s current exemption of PTP from having to install safety shields. As such, this surcharge is not proposed to apply to taxi dispatchers whose drivers are required to have safety shields installed. Revenue from the $0.03 safety surcharge is to be accounted for separately and used in the promotion and marketing of overall industry safety measures and requirements, as well as passenger rights and complaint process.

“Many of my residents have raised concerns about safety with respect to the changes being proposed by the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw,” said Councillor Brian Mayes, St. Vital. “I feel the introduction of a safety surcharge can help address these concerns.”

In addition to a new safety surcharge, other amendments being proposed for Council’s consideration include:

  • Allowing registered taxis access to diamond lanes on a one-year trial basis, a long-standing request of the taxi industry;
  • Removing the 20 year limitation period for transferable taxi licenses allowing them to remain valid in perpetuity; and
  • Reducing the initial introduction of new taxi licenses from 120 to 60 effective March 1, 2018, introducing the remaining 60 licenses at the end of 2018, and selecting them using a lottery based approach.

The proposed bylaw already imposes the same, tough new criminal and driving record background checks on both taxi and PTP drivers. An additional amendment being proposed would allow taxi and PTP drivers to be registered as drivers subject to submitting a clean vulnerable person and child abuse registry searches rather than requiring these record checks to be undertaken prior to being registered as drivers.

“I want to be clear that all taxi and PTP drivers will still be required to undertake and submit a criminal record check, a vulnerable person sector search, as well as a child abuse registry checks,” said Mayor Bowman.

The changes being proposed today are in addition to the amendments proposed by Executive Policy Committee earlier this month. These changes included a requirement to review the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw every year instead of every 24 months, and amending language to better reflect current accessibility standards.

On December 1, 2017, the City of Winnipeg Public Service released an administrative report outlining a regulatory framework for the vehicle for hire industry within Winnipeg. If adopted by Council, the recommended framework would take effect February 28, 2018 when regulatory responsibility legally transfers from the provincial government to municipalities pursuant to the requirements of Bill 30 – The Local Vehicles for Hire Act.

The proposed by-law aims to streamline and modernize vehicle for hire regulations, and is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible so that competition can influence how the industry evolves and innovates.

The administrative report and draft bylaw to be considered by Council this week can be found on the City of Winnipeg’s Decision Making Information System (DMIS).