Mayor on board with staff recommendations on taxi bylaw changes

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is supporting staff recommendations regulating the taxi industry that would legalize Uber.

“If we are going to remain an innovative city, we cannot ignore new technologies and ways of doing business,” Mr. Watson wrote in an open letter to city councillors.

Mr. Watson said the recommendations, which include allowing cabs to offer reduced fares for rides booked through an app, reducing the taxi licence fee from $176 to $96 and eliminating the Algonquin College course for drivers, represent “the best way forward.”

“We need to take unnecessary restrictions off the taxi industry by removing long-standing grievances, and to allow it compete and innovate,” he said.

Staff is also recommending all vehicle-for-hire groups – including Uber – have the same level of commercial insurance, broker fees, vehicle age limits, background checks and vehicle requirements. Fees the city collects for administration and enforcement would also be similar.

“I have every confidence that the traditional taxi industry will be able to compete fairly under these proposed regulations,” Mr. Watson said.