New taxi, ride-sharing rules being called "a step backwards"

Beck Taxi is making the driver training mandatory

It's something that may feel like a slap in the face to taxi drivers. 

As of January 1, 2020 (or at the time of this publication, tomorrow), the City of Toronto will have new rules put in place for anyone who drives for a vehicle-for-hire service, whether it be taxis or ride-sharing programs. 

Included in the new rules are mandatory training for all drivers, although the city has yet to declare the third party that will be monitoring and issuing these tests. Also included are the creation of an Accessibility Fund Program and an increase in amount of driving experience from one to three years. 

But what has the taxi industry most upset is dropping a rule that required their vehicles to be low-emission, alternative fuel or hybrids. 

According to Beck Taxi spokesperson Kristine Hubbard, this is in complete contradiction with the City of Toronto's declaration of a climate emergency back in September.

"No one was expecting that they would do something that's in complete conflict with every goal that we have heard put forward from our city and what the public says we want," she told Moore in the Morning's Jason Agnew.

"We have a long precedent of using hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles in the taxi industry, and it was mandated that taxis had to be hybrid or fuel efficient," she added. "It's been years."

The city says regulations have changed to lessen the challenges drivers may have faced by purchasing more environmentally-friendly vehicles, but Hubbard is not buying the explanation and rather, it's more about pleasing companies such as Lyft and Uber.

"Our city continues to cater to these companies and it was made very clear to us right in City Hall the day they voted for this that they're just afraid of them now," she said. 

"In the interests of levelling the playing field, not only did they not apply these rules or restrictions to ride hailing and food delivery vehicles. They removed them from the taxi industry - which no one wanted."

You can read the full rules and regulations coming into effect here