April 30th - Message from General Manager of Emergency & Protective Services Regarding Taxi Services
I am writing to provide preliminary information on the decrease of available taxi services as the industry adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director of By-law and Regulatory Services and I have recently been made aware that despite reductions in other taxicab services, the full complement of 65 accessible taxicabs contracted to Para Transpo remains available to provide accessible taxicab service. These services are therefore currently unaffected.
However, we understand that taxicab services to the general public have been significantly reduced, with only 114 taxis of 1192 currently reporting for service. Information received from the industry indicates that this is due in part to the significant reduction in demand for taxis during this period of physical distancing, as well as decreased demand due to the closure of non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars and shopping centres.
We are also aware that Coventry Connections has ceased to provide insurance coverage for taxi drivers and plateholders due to the economic impacts of the pandemic and the inability to meet operational and other business costs. This is a business decision taken by Coventry Connections.
As the regulator of taxi services, the lack of required insurance coverage is of concern to the City. As you know, vehicles in Ontario must be insured to be lawfully driven, and proper insurance coverage is a key consumer protection requirement of the City’s Vehicle-For-Hire By-law. As a result, the Director of By-law and Regulatory Services is taking immediate enforcement steps to ensure that any taxicab that is currently providing services to the public is fully insured and meets all other public safety and consumer protection requirements of the By-law. Similar verifications are ongoing for the other vehicle-for-hire categories.
I wish to reiterate that the City, as regulator, has no role to play in labour relations of the taxi industry as a whole, nor do we have a say in the particular business models used in the industry. I can, however, assure you that we will continue to monitor this situation and to keep lines of communication open with all sectors in the taxi industry, and we will adjust our enforcement strategies as necessary and as appropriate under the circumstances. I will provide you with updates as more information becomes available. Meanwhile, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
Yours truly, Anthony Di Monte General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services Department