Taxicabs

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Taxicab Training

Learn about the introductory and refresher taxicab training courses for taxicab drivers, along with other educational resources. 

What's Happening

Maps

Preparing for Training

Business Licensing Thresholds

Municipal Code Chapter 545 has requirements that an applicant must meet to obtain a licence, relating to municipal, provincial and federal law. 

Resources

Changes to Legislation

Cell Phone Usage

Taxicab drivers are also subject to Municipal Code Chapter 545, which prohibits the use of cell phones by taxicab drivers while operating their vehicles. Cell phones are not to be used by taxicab drivers while passengers are in the vehicle except in the case of an emergency. 

The use of cell phones will be allowed when a taxicab driver is not in the process of transporting passengers, however the Distracted Driving legislation requires that all drivers (including taxi and limousine drivers) who are operating a vehicle, must refrain from using a cell phone or other electronic device, unless a hands-free device is used. Those who do not obey the law allows may be fined up to $500.  

Seatbelts

According to the Highway Traffic Act, taxicab drivers are exempt from wearing a seatbelt while operating their vehicle, assuming you are transporting a client. It is important to note however, that a passenger is not exempt, and must wear their seatbelt at all times. Please remind your customers of this law and ensure they are properly secured in the vehicle.

Taxicab Flat Rate Amendments

Section 545-129.1 (b)

Any flat rate arrangements entered into by a taxicab broker with the charge account customers must, for trips originating within the City of Toronto, excluding the area bounded by Kipling Avenue on the east, Finch Avenue on the north, Eglinton Avenue on the south and the western boundary of the City of Toronto, and terminating at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, be in accordance with Appendix M, Taxi Tariffs from the City of Toronto to Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
 

Section 545-150 (E)(4)

Where a trip originates within the City of Toronto, excluding the area bounded by Kipling Avenue on the east, Finch Avenue on the north, Eglinton Avenue on the south and the western boundary of the City of Toronto, and terminates at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, the passenger may be charged a flat rate applicable in Appendix M, Taxi Tariffs from the City of Toronto to Lester B. Pearson International Airport, for that trip or the passenger may elect to pay the meter rate, whichever is lower.

Trip Sheets Eliminated

City Council has approved changes to the Municipal Code relative to trip sheets. Drivers of taxicabs will no longer be required to maintain records of each trip taken in the taxi. Instead, drivers will be required to keep an operator log. It is the responsibility of the operator and the owner to ensure the log is maintained and available for inspection when required. Information to be included in the log:

(a) The number of the taxicab;
(b) The provincial plate number of the vehicle;
(c) The date and time of the start and end of each continuous working period;
(d) The taxicab driver licence number of the driver for each continuous working period;
(e) The signature of the driver for each continuous working period; and
(f) The details of any incidents, as per 545-148K (3).


Drivers are required to record the starting information required on the operator log prior to the commencement of any continuous work period and shall record the ending information required on the operator log at the conclusion of any continuous working period. The records shall be kept by the owner, designated custodian, designated agent or lessee for a period of at least 12 months and shall be open to inspection by the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division. This change will be effective in February 2008.

Changes to Thresholds

City Council has approved changes to the thresholds pertaining to by-law infractions, replacing the current system with a demerit point system. Major offences will be worth 2 points, others 1 point and minor offences 0 points. An accumulation of 7 or more points can result in disciplinary action by the City.


 

Defensive Driving in Toronto

Some describe 'Toronto driving as unique, others find it frustrating. The balance between the two beliefs appropriately typifies 'Toronto driving' as 'uniquely frustrating'.

On the streets of Toronto we find obstacles and situations that are not found in any other city. Visitors to our city marvel at what we as drivers are consistently able to deal with on our streets. Despite this opinion, (and despite the 'boasting'), there are a number of situations on the streets where even the most experienced of drivers throw their hands in the air out of frustration and bewilderment.

Toronto taxicab drivers face added risks when operating on the streets. Besides the everyday on-road distractions, taxicab drivers must deal with two-way radios, computers, conversations with customers in the back seat, searching for streets and addresses, writing down pick-up information, and watching for pedestrians who may chose to flag them down. Being on the road as often as they are, taxicab drivers also battle fatigue (long shifts), traffic (rush hour in the downtown core), and other road users (aggressive drivers).

The Defensive Driving module offered at the Taxi Training Centre covers all this and more. Under the guidance of the Canada Safety Council, our certified instructors offer both Primary and Refresher drivers an intense full day, six-hour training course. With professional drivers as our students, instructors present each course with the underlining motto.

"We are not here to teach you how to drive, we are here to work together to find the best ways to deal with the 'uniquely frustrating' situations we find on Toronto's roads, so that we all safely arrive home to our families."

Taxicab drivers are skilled professionals. A quick examination of our own goals when driving, will help us prepare for Toronto driving. 

Ask yourself, "When I get into a car, what do I hope to achieve today?" Is it finding a lot of long airport runs? Having no customers jump fare or giving a hard time? Not stuck in traffic? Enough fares and tips to pay for the daily expenses? Though all vitally important to a taxicab driver, we tend to mention these types of ambitions, before any mention of road safety or getting home to our families. With the number of stressful worries, we tend to overlook the importance of defensive driving as a means of getting home safe. If we make the effort, prioritize our goals, and make sure that today "I want to get home safe to my family" - we put ourselves in the right mind set to deal with any on-road situation.

Defensive Driving is driving to prevent collisions despite the actions of others and the conditions around you. In the right mind set, we take control of any situation -- so that no person, place or thing will prevent us from getting home. Though we take tremendous pride in knowing our Taxicab drivers are going home satisfied with our Defensive Driving course, we hold even more pride in knowing our drivers are going home safely to their family and loved ones.

High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes

A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane is a lane that is designated for use by certain types of vehicles carrying a certain number of people. The purpose of an HOV lane is reduce travel time for those who carpool or take transit, helping to combat congestion.  On Ontario highways, HOV lanes can be used by passenger vehicles with a driver and at least one passenger for taxicabs, limousines, trucks and other cars.   Buses of all types can use an HOV lane at any time, regardless of the number of occupants, however a three-year pilot, effective July 1, 2012 allows taxicabs and airport limousines with just the driver to use provincial HOV lanes.

Learn more at the Ministry of Transportation Ontario website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/hov/faq.shtml.

Idling Control By-law

Idling and Air Quality

The City of Toronto is taking another step toward improving the quality of air that we breathe.

Toronto City Council at its meeting on July 8, 2010, made changes to the City’s Idling Control By-Law. Previously, vehicle operators were allowed to idle their engines for up to three minutes. Now, engines are prohibited from idling for more than one minute in a 60-minute period.

Vehicle emissions are a contributing factor in climate change. By reducing unnecessary idling to just one minute, we are helping to improve the quality of the air in Toronto. It’s one simple way that we can all help to keep our air clean.

The City also encourages residents to consider alternative methods of transportation such as walking, cycling and public transit to help improve air quality.

If you wish you may read the idling control by-law: Chapter 517 of the Municipal Code AND by-law 775-2010.

 

For further information about issuing a complaint, by-law compliance or by-law enforcement, you may contact:

Permit Parking
City Hall
100 Queen St W
Main Floor, West Tower
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Phone: 416-392-7873
Fax: 416-392-1911
E-mail: pparking@toronto.ca

For more information about the changes to the idling by-law and about being idle free in Toronto, Click Here.

GPS from the Brokerages' Perspective

The computer mobile terminal located in taxicabs automatically performs many of the functions that a driver normally does on a voice dispatch system. The vehicle's computer provides the cab number and driver's name every time there is communication between the car and the dispatch office.
 

A signal will be automatically emitted by the system when the vehicle moves a pre-determined distance from its previous location or when no location has been provided within a set time period.The communication may also be initiated from the vehicle whenever the driver presses the 'send' button on the computer, turns the meter on or off, or pushes the emergency button. Whenever there is communication between the car and the dispatch, the GPS unit's location (latitude and longitude co-ordinates) are logged by the dispatch computer.

The dispatch centre is able to keep track of all brokerage taxicab vehicles. It is also able to establish the car's status at any given time from the on-board computer. The dispatch centre can at a glance determine into which dispatch zone a vehicle is booked, whether the car's meter is on or off, whether the taxicab is on a dispatched call, or if the vehicle is idle and not using the system.

The vehicle's status is important for the base computer to dispatch customer orders to the cars. When the brokerage receives a call from a customer, the GPS location of the pick-up address is known. The dispatch centre's computer is then able to determine if there are any cars booked into the corresponding zone and if so, dispatch the call to the top car. The driver will be able to see on his or her on-board computer screen the dispatched fare. If the driver decides to take the fare, he or she will "roger" the order. The full pick-up information will then be transmitted to the cab's computer. If the fare is rejected, the driver must book back in and his or her position drops to the bottom of the queue.

As a car drives from zone to zone, the computer will automatically book the vehicle into the new zone. In the outlying parts of the city, the computer uses a CVD (Closest Vehicle Dispatch) process.

If no vehicles are booked into the outlying corresponding zone, the computer will identify, and offer the fare to, the taxicab closest to the pick-up address according to the last logged location of the vehicles. In this case, the driver will be provided with the distance to the address and he or she will still be able to either accept or reject the fare.

This is a basic overview of how the GPS is used to dispatch orders to cabs. It is important to note that there are a variety of dispatch-related functions that tend to be particular or unique to the different brokerages in Toronto.

Seatbelt Safety

As per the Highway Traffic Act, taxicab drivers are not required to wear seatbelts while transporting passengers, however wearing a seatbelt has been shown to save lives and dramatically increase your chances of surviving an accident.  

Taxicab passengers are required to wear seatbelts.

Learn more on the Ministry of Transportation Services Ontario website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/seatbelt.shtml.

Vehicle Maintenance and Fuel Saving

Maintaining Your Vehicle

Mechanical problems with vehicle rarely occur without warning. In most cases, there are signs of impending trouble. Keep the following points in mind when driving (a cab/or your car). They can help you save money in car maintenance and repairs. Check out these time-tested tips:

  1. Check your tire pressure regularly. This should be done when the tires are cold. Over/under inflated tires are not good for traction, steering, braking, gas consumption or comfort of ride. Tire pressure should be checked more frequently in winter. You will get better mileage from properly inflated tires.
  2. Do not wait until your tank is almost empty before filling up. On very cold days ice crystals can form inside the tank, shutting off the supply of gas to the engine. Besides, in winter a full tank gives a car more traction on snow covered roads.
  3. Make sure your car's air filter is clean at all times. A dirty air filter will cost you a lot more money in gas.
  4. Always make sure your car comes to a complete stop, before changing gears from drive to reverse, or vice versa. Your transmission will last much longer.
    Always wait a few seconds after starting your car, before shifting into gear and driving off. This allows the engine oil to do its job more effectively.
    If there is an electrical problem, first check if there is a blown fuse for the problem. Replacing a fuse could be much cheaper than going to a mechanic.

The Top 10 Tips to Save Fuel

  1. Avoid High Speeds. As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases in an exponential fashion. Driving 62 mph (100 km/h) vs 75 mph (120 km/h) will reduce fuel consumption by about 15%.
  2. Keep Tires Properly Inflated. Keep tire air pressure at the level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. A single tire under inflated by 2 PSI, increases fuel consumption by 1%.
  3. Do Not Accelerate or Break Hard. By anticipating traffic flow and using slow, steady braking and accelerating, you could save 20%.
  4. Use Air Conditioning Sparingly. When the air conditioner is on it puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used (by about 20%). The defrost position on most vehicles also uses the air conditioner.
  5. Keep Windows Closed. Windows open, especially at highway speeds, increase drag and result in decreased fuel economy of up to 10%
  6. Use Cruise Control. Maintaining a constant speed over long distances often saves gas.
  7. Avoid Long Idles. If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car. Restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle for this time.
  8. Avoid Heavy Loads. Remove the sand bags from your trunk in the spring and pack lightly for long trips.
  9. Service Vehicle Regularly. Proper maintenance avoids poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, old spark plugs or low fluid levels.
  10. Drive/Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. When buying a new vehicle examine the vehicle's rated fuel efficiency. Usually choosing a small vehicle with a manual transmission will provide you with great fuel economy.

 

Tips to Stay Safe on the Road

Tips to Stay Safe on the Road                         

1. Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

2. Don't be distracted by eating, drinking or using your gps or cell phone.

3. Look out for the cyclist or pedestrian who isn't looking out.

4. Always yield to pedestrians, especially in a crosswalk.

5. Never pass a stopped car at a marked crosswalk or pedestrian crossover. They may be stopped waiting for a pedestrian to cross the road safely.

6. Always look for cyclists before opening your car doors.

7. Do not tailgate. Always ensure you have sufficient room to stop in the case of sudden braking.

8. Signal your intentions early enough to give other road users time to prepare your next move.

What is a Safe Following Distance?

Most experienced drivers would agree that the more distance between you and the vehicles around you the more time you have to adjust to developing situations. In the case of an emergency, having enough time can mean the difference between life and death. But, what is a safe distance to keep between your car and other vehicles? This question is not as straightforward as we are sometimes led to believe.

The distance at which one should follow another vehicle is directly related to the distance required to bring your vehicle to a complete stop, and is in turn dependent on multiple factors.

Total stopping distance involves:

• Human perception time. This relates to the time required for a person to recognise a potential hazard. It is highly variable as some hazards are much more easily perceived than others. Generally, however, this time is assumed to be 0.75 seconds.
• Human reaction time. Once a hazard has been perceived, the driver must respond by applying the brakes. The average reaction time is about 0.75 seconds. It should be noted that, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, it takes the average driver 1.64 seconds to perceive and react to a roadway hazard. Ninety-five percent of people react within 2.5 seconds.
• Vehicle reaction time. This refers to the time it takes for the vehicle to react once the brakes have been applied by the driver. Vehicle reaction time is very quick, usually assumed to be about 0.05 seconds.
• Vehicle braking capability. This refers to the vehicle's ability to come to a complete stop once the brakes have been applied. Many factors affect a vehicle's ability to stop, including:
o          speed of vehicle;
o          weight of vehicle;
o          type and condition of brakes;
o          type and condition of tires;
o          physical condition of pavement;
o          slickness of pavement;
o          grade of road.

On the road when following another vehicle, your following distance must be at least enough to provide you with the opportunity to react to a potential hazard. If you are following a vehicle at 100 kilometres per hour and this vehicle brakes suddenly, on average, you will need about one and a half seconds to react. If you do not have this distance between you and the vehicle in front, you will likely not be able to stop in time.

One in twenty people require more than two seconds to react to hazards. If at first you do not brake with the same intensity as the vehicle in front of you, you will quickly close the gap between you and the other car. Finally, there is no guarantee that the vehicle in front of you will break in time to avoid the hazard, in any case. Thus, we recommend that you keep a distance between you and the vehicle in front of two to three seconds.

Winter Driving

Winter Driving


Driving is one of the most important life skills and certainly one of the most significant areas of competence for professional taxicab drivers.
 

View through the windshield


When cold weather arrives, even though it may potentially bring lucrative business, it always brings common concerns related to adverse weather conditions, including snow, ice, cold temperatures, fog and wind. These conditions can have a considerable impact on the performance of your vehicle and safety in driving. Fighting these unfavourable weather conditions may challenge every driver, but can be done successfully if the driver is willing to keep his or her good attitude and willingness to remain a responsible defensive driver.

Did you know that most adverse-weather-related collisions happen just immediately with the initial offset of the winter season? Two things that make driving in winter very different than driving in summer are loss of traction and loss of visibility. Generally, the failure to adjust to winter conditions includes the lack of planning and preparation and over driving one's visibility (e.g. not slowing down and not adjusting the distance especially between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you).

To prevent and minimize unpleasant experiences while driving in winter, a driver should follow these tips "before" and "while driving":

Drawing of mechanic at work

   Have a mechanic check each of the following items on your car:

  • Brakes;
  • Battery and alternator;
  • Antifreeze;
  • Wipers and windshield washer fluid;
  • Ignition system;
  • Thermostat;
  • Exhaust system;
  • Heater and defroster;
  • Oil level (replace existing oil with a winter grade oil);
  • Tires - check the tread;
  • Hoses and belts;
  • Lights;
  • Tune up the engine.

   Make sure you have:

  • Windshield scraper;
  • Broom and shovel;
  • Jack, lug wrench and spare tire;
  • Extra clothing and food;
  • Maintain a half tank of gas;
  • Flashlight, matches;
  • Extra car key;
  • Booster cable.

   Other tips:

  • Be alert and extra observant;
  • Plan your route carefully and allow extra time;
  • Listen to the radio for the latest road conditions;
  • Slow down;
  • Increase the following distance (snow and ice make stopping distance up to 12 times longer);
  • Never brake suddenly (with ABS, stomp and steer);
  • Clear the snow off your windows, windshields, lights and plate;
  • Practise skid-control techniques (do immediate remedial steering, steer in the direction you need to go and let the tires regain traction);
  • When stalled, stay with your vehicle;
  • Be aware of possible exhaust or carbon monoxide problems;
  • Hills and bridges can be particularly dangerous;
  • Carry a reflective "Call Police" help sign.

By taking these precautionary measures before the winter sets in, you will help alleviate most of the foreseeable problems down the road. This will help you wait for the first spring blooms in a much more tactful and a lot less stressful manner.

Be prepared. Be alert. Be safe.