Ride sharing services race into Edmonton’s Vehicle for Hire industry
The new Vehicle for Hire Bylaw approved by City Council on January 27, 2016, is now in effect, and the first legal ride-sharing services have entered Edmonton’s vehicle for hire market under a new class called Private Transportation Providers (PTPs).
As of March 1, five regional PTPs dispatchers (Metro Airport, Anytime Taxi, Cowboy Taxi, Dollar Cab and a Private Individual) and one commercial PTP dispatcher (Tapp Car) have been issued licences. Drivers for those PTPs will be next in the registration process.
Under the hybrid fare model in the new bylaw, both taxis and PTPs are permitted to accept trips pre-arranged through a mobile app or written contract for a minimum charge of $3.25 per trip. Rates above the $3.25 minimum are not regulated by the bylaw and may be negotiated between the PTP or taxi, and the customer.
Both PTPs and taxis may also accept trips pre-arranged through a telephone dispatch. Taxis will charge using a stipulated meter rate of $3.60 for the first 135 metres and $0.20 for each additional 135 metres or 24 seconds waiting time, while PTPs will charge using the $3.25 minimum flex fare rate.
Only taxis will be permitted to pick up street hails or use taxi stands for the stipulated meter rate. Keeping the street hail, taxi stand and telephone request options for taxis helps provide continuity for taxi customers in how they secure service.
Licensed PTPs and taxis are subject to significant scrutiny by the City, making them considerably safer than non regulated services like bandit taxis. Legitimate, licensed vehicles in Edmonton will be easy to recognize because they will all have distinct markings.
Taxis will have the current city-issued taxi plate attached to the front of the vehicle. Taxis will also have: a visible meter inside the vehicle, which the driver starts after a passenger gets in to determine the fare; a meter rate sticker displayed in the vehicle; and unit number decals on the vehicle’s rear side panel and back bumper.
Commercial PTPs will have a sticker with the trademark symbol of the PTP dispatcher on the passenger side lower corner of the front windshield of the vehicle. Regional PTPs will be issued a City of Edmonton inspection sticker to be placed directly on the front windshield in the lower corner on the passenger side of the vehicle.
All legitimate PTPs and taxi drivers must also present their City of Edmonton driver’s licence, which includes a photo of the driver, by either having it displayed in the vehicle or made available through an app.
The City will continue to uphold and enforce public safety standards as stipulated in the bylaw. If people encounter an unlicensed vehicle or witness any problematic behaviour in a licensed vehicle for hire, they are encouraged to report it online or call 780-496-5244 and the City’s vehicle for hire office will initiate an investigation. Fines for operating without a City driver’s licence or City vehicle licence under the new bylaw increase to $5,000.
With more regulated transportation services now open to Edmontonians, the City encourages citizens to learn more about their options and determine the best choice to fit their individual needs.