Statement: Toronto embraces innovation by adopting new rules for ground transportation

Yesterday, Toronto City Council adopted new rules that enable innovation for ground transportation. This is an important step forward. The adopted proposal supports the greater public interest by reducing the burden on existing operators while providing more transportation options to city residents and visitors.

A workable solution was found that follows a balanced approach, as suggested by the MaRS Solutions Lab report, “Shifting Perspectives: Redesigning Regulation for the Sharing Economy”. It creates new rules for ride sharing while alleviating regulatory burden for existing operators. The amendments, as presented by Mayor John Tory yesterday include:

  • having a similar minimum fare of $3.25 for both taxis and Private Transportation Companies (PTCs)
  • allowing surge pricing for both taxis and PTCs
  • creating a consistent inspection policy for both taxis and PTCs
  • ensuring similar standards on background checks and insurance.

“With this vote, Toronto is showing it embraces innovation, but expects everyone to play by the rules,” said Joeri van den Steenhoven, Director MaRS Solutions Lab. “These regulations provide a balanced approach to defend key public interests while providing room for new ride-sharing services to be offered to Torontonians. With these new rules, the city is setting a standard for others and a high bar for innovation.”

Other suggestions from the MaRS Solutions Lab report also included in the final regulation include:

  • allowing taxi brokerages to manage driver records on behalf of the drivers
  • removing training and CPR requirements to licensing
  • enacting a funding strategy for accessible service that spreads the cost across the industry, mirror the recommendations from our report.

“This is a great step forward, but the debate is not yet done. Now we’re looking forward to engaging the provincial and federal governments to address issues around insurance and tax compliance related to the sharing economy,” said Joeri van den Steenhoven. “We hope they will follow suit and adjust key aspects of regulation with regards to insurance and taxes.”

MaRS Solutions Lab released its report, “Shifting Perspectives: Redesigning Regulations for the Sharing Economy” last month, calling for government and industry stakeholders to design regulations that create public value, support innovation and reduce administrative burden. The lab engaged over 200 individuals including taxi drivers, uberX drivers, hotel managers, Airbnb hosts and other stakeholder in government and business.

For more information, contact:
Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District