The Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board regulates the transportation for hire industry in Niagara through By-Law 350-2014 requiring drivers of vehicles for hire to be licenced. This licencing process includes extensive criminal and driving history background checks, vehicle registration and safety checks, proof of applicable insurance provisions including commercial insurance, and successful completion of a taxi driver training course. The main principle behind licencing the transportation for hire industry remains public safety.
The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario Subsection 39.1(1) reads “picking up passenger for compensation prohibited without licence” also making it an offence to provide transportation for hire services without a licence. The Niagara Regional Police Service By-Law Enforcement & Licencing Unit continues its commitment to the enforcement of all regulations dealing with the transportation for hire industry in Niagara.
The emergence of Uber in the Region precipitated an investigative and enforcement project that recently concluded resulting in a total of twenty (20) charges under Subsection 39.1(1) of the HTA. These charges were laid against twenty different individuals operating as Uber drivers in the Region. The unlicenced drivers are being summonsed to court in order to answer to the charges. Along with the charges, police discovered some other noteworthy concerns including:
One of the drivers was not the advertised Uber driver of record
One of the drivers was currently charged with a criminal offence
One of the vehicles used was not currently registered
Three of the drivers were from outside the Niagara Region and did not know the area
The NRPS By-Law Enforcement & Licencing Unit will continue to enforce all laws and regulations under its mandate within the Region of Niagara. We would like to remind the public that operating unlicenced transportation for hire in the Region is illegal. The public should also be aware that using unlicenced transportation for hire is always risky due to the unknowns involved including driver background, vehicle condition, and insurance considerations. Public safety remains the priority.
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