Regulating Vehicles-For-Hire in Toronto

A new report (which can be found here: UAI_VFH_Report_June 2019) by the Ryerson Urban Analytics Institute assesses the regulatory provisions for the Vehicle-for-Hire industry. The report has undertaken a detailed review of the Vehicles-Fore-Hire (VFH) bylaw and contrasted the regulations against the planning goals for mitigating traffic congestion, reducing tailpipe emissions and traffic volumes by automobiles, improving accessibility for passengers with special needs, and improving passenger and traffic safety.

The report concludes that the existing VFH regulations have resulted in outcomes that are not in line with the City of Toronto’s stated goals and priorities such that many of the aforementioned metrics have worsened as a result.

The report offers the following recommendations:

It recommends that the City of Toronto should eliminate discrepancies in regulations that may adversely impact one set of operators while benefiting another. Regulations must be streamlined to improve the well-being of drivers, operators, owners, and, more importantly, passengers.

The report recommends that the vehicle-for-hire regulations should be revised so that the stated policies and priorities for reducing traffic congestion and harmful tailpipe emissions, improving public transit ridership and traffic safety, and improving accessibility for passengers with special needs can achieve their intended goals. Furthermore, given the stated goal to provide fulfilling employment opportunities for all Torontonians, it is incumbent that the City should continue to observe the impact of PTC operations on the welfare of drivers and others involved in the vehicle-for-hire industry.

Lastly, this report endorses the recent recommendations by the City Staff for improving mobility in the City of Toronto. The City staff recommended:

  1. “Transportation Services [at the City of Toronto] to build a monitoring program as part of the Congestion Management Plan to monitor the impacts of Vehicles-for-Hire on VKT, traffic congestion, and GHG emissions and to better understand the relationship with traffic congestion trends in the city.
  2. “Transportation Services to continue to study the impact of Vehicles-for-Hire on the Curbside Management plan and related policies.
  3. “Transportation Services to investigate whether there is a road safety impact of Vehicles-for-Hire and to collaborate with MLS and the Toronto Police Service to collect appropriate data.
  4. “In order to be able to continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of vehicles-for-hire on the transportation network, changes are required to the data currently being collected to include information on PTC volumes, wait times, trip cancelations, deadheading and curbside activity.”