A city council committee has endorsed a series of bylaw changes that could help clarify the distinction between taxis and ride-hailing companies.
The amended bylaws will come before city council on June 27, and have to be approved before they go into effect.
The changes city staff proposed include more clear definitions of taxi companies and riding-hailing services, and an increase in the fines for ride-hailing drivers who accept street hails or fail to provide evidence of city registration and insurance when they are stopped.
The current $250 fines would be increased to $1,000 on a first offence and $2,000 on second offence.
“We wanted to make sure that there was a difference between taxis and transportation network vehicles,” said Livia Balone, director of development and zoning services.
The city passed a bylaw that made it legal for ride-hailing companies to operate in Edmonton as of March 1, 2016. Since then, the province has brought in changes to legislation, which left the city bylaws in need of “tweaking,” Balone said.
Several taxi drivers made presentations Monday to the community and public services committee, with most saying they support the proposed bylaw changes.
“We lack enforcement,” said taxi driver Salwinder Dhatt.
He said some drivers are not obeying current bylaws.
The city has five peace officers dedicated to enforcing the city’s vehicle-for-hire bylaws, said John Simmons of bylaw enforcement.
They work a variety of shifts, and move to different parts of the city, he said.
“This is a new, emerging and disruptive service that is being provided, and we’ll take time to adapt and hone our practices,” said Simmons.
A report to the committee said the city has spent $1.5 million on administration and enforcement since it began allowing ride-hailing companies to operate. The city has issued a total of 278 tickets to ride-hailing drivers.
Of those tickets, 30 were for illegal street hailing, seven were for failing to…