The Town of Cobourg currently regulates Taxis but does not explicitly include Uber, Limousines or Designated Driver services. One of the items of unfinished business on the Council’s agenda is updating the Taxi by-law to include these services and a proposed by-law which includes them will be offered to Council for approval at the next Committee of the Whole meeting on 25 September. It’s proposed to get more feedback from the Public and operators but the proposed by-law is comprehensive and will require Uber and Designated Driver (D.D.) service drivers to be licensed with the same requirements as Taxi Drivers. Nomenclature is introduced or clearly defined (see below) and, no doubt to be in line with variable Uber fares, fares will be set by the taxi company and not the Town.
- Vehicles for Hire (V.F.H.) – all categories are included with this term. The new by-law will be called: “Vehicle for Hire By-Law”.
- Transportation Network Company – (T.N.C.) e.g. Uber or Lyft
- Designated Driver (D.D.) – a driver for a Designated Driver service where drivers drive customers home in their own vehicle.
- Limousine – a vehicle for hire by reservation only and solely on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis with “no meter or two-way radio” (perhaps Brent means “Dispatch service” – a cell-phone is a 2-way radio) or similar device.
- Fares were last adjusted in March 2022
- No T.N.C.s operate out of Cobourg although they do drop off in Cobourg.
- T.N.C.’s use a system of highly variable fares whereas Taxis charge per a Tariff based on fixed factors such as distance.
- T.N.C.s, D.D.s and Limousines currently operate in Cobourg in violation of standards set for Taxis.
- The new bylaw would require all Vehicles for Hire to have drivers licensed per the by-law and meeting the same standards.
- Taxis would be required to have Tariff cards and to ensure passengers know the rates
- Annual fees for Taxi drivers would be $75; for T.N.C. companies $5000 for up to 100 drivers and $0.11 for each ride starting in Cobourg; $250 for Limousine and TaxiCab owners.
- Brent suggests that Cobourg should work with other Northumberland Municipalities to adopt the same rules
- Provision is made for options for Taxis such as are available on a smartphone app – like is done for Uber.
- Licensing requirements for drivers and vehicles are tight – see proposed by-law below.
- It’s proposed to be in force by 1 November 2023.
- It seems fair that the same by-law applies to all services providing a taxi like service
- Allowing taxis to set their own tariffs is fair providing it’s made clear to passengers. This is effectively what Uber does. Possible higher fares might attract more taxi companies to Cobourg or cause existing companies to licence more cabs.
- Providing an accessible taxi would cost more so higher tariffs for that should be allowed. Currently no accessible taxis are available in Cobourg and this by-law should make such a service more likely.
- The By-law could yet be modified either after first reading by Council or after a public meeting provides input (no date yet for the Public meeting).
- Council approves new taxi fares – 15 March 2022
- Proposed draft by-law – 33 pages
- Taxi page on Cobourg Internet – there are currently 9 taxis licensed in Cobourg.
Addendum – 25 Sept 2023
At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on 25 September, Council approved the draft by-law (as a draft) and confirmed that a public meeting would be held but no date was set. I’d guess it will be November with the new bylaws effective in the new year.