Brampton Councillor Dhillon convey’s taxi industry’s disappointment regarding new Uber bylaw

Gurpreet Dhillon

THE Chair of Brampton’s Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC), Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, expressed the disappointment of TAC members at the City of Brampton’s City Council meeting on June 27, where a new Private Transportation Company (PTC) bylaw was approved for companies such as Uber and Lyft, and now makes it legal for them to operate within the city boundaries.

Under the new bylaw, PTC’s will be required to pay a $20,000 annual licensing fee along with 30 cents per ride directly to the city, and will have to adhere to safety standards for both driver and vehicles. However, Dhillon expressed the TAC’s disappointment that the bylaw doesn’t go far enough to protect drivers and customers.

“On behalf of the TAC, I am expressing their disappointment that their amendments to the new PTC bylaw to ensure driver and consumer protection were not accepted,” said Dhillon.

The amendments, tabled by Dhillon, included a requirement for PTC drivers to be issued electronic license numbers by the City of Brampton in order to track who is picking up customers, as well as requiring the PTC to ensure the driver’s personal insurance provider issues an ‘endorsement’ (authorization that the vehicle can be used for commercial use), which would have prevented the driver’s personal insurance from potentially being voided.

Voting against the PTC bylaw, and in favour of the amendments, were Councillors Dhillon, Pat Fortini, and Martin Medeiros.

In 2016, despite being ignored by Uber, Dhillon’s motion to temporarily ban Uber and other PTC companies from operating in Brampton passed unanimously until a new bylaw could be drafted. After the motion passed, staff immediately commenced workshops, public meetings, surveys, and also met with the taxi industry to propose new changes to the taxi portion of the mobile licensing bylaw. Changes to the taxi industry accepted by the TAC to date have included:

· Removing need for driver training

• Removal of English language testing

• Adding additional years for vehicles to operate: Accessible taxis 10 years, taxis 9 years, and they do not require an extension until the sixth model year (previously it was the fifth model year).

• Fee reductions to the standard plate transfers from $3,769 to $358

• Removing the change of vehicle fee

“It is disappointing that Uber had not followed the law, and thus negatively impacted the hard working taxi industry who followed each rule and paid each fee for decades without issue,” said Dhillon. “It was my honour to have worked and fought on behalf of the TAC, and now that the PTC bylaw has passed, as Chair, I will continue to work with the taxi industry going forward to ensure the industry is balanced and fair.”

The Taxi Advisory Committee is next scheduled to meet in September, or at the call of the Chair.