Mono council hedges on uniform taxi bylaw

July 6, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono council knows well how there are devils in details when debating some legislative matters.

Such was the case during its June 27 meeting and a debate about signing onto an Orangeville-initiated bylaw to regulate taxis.

Mono council considered a proposal from the Town of Orangeville in April 2022 in which interested municipalities would develop a unified framework to regulate taxis, limousines, and ride-share operators.

Each participating municipality must pass a uniform bylaw, enter into a shared services agreement with the Town of Orangeville, and appoint Orangeville bylaw enforcement officers to enforce the bylaw.

Mono would have to pay Orangeville $1,000 every year for that service. Orangeville will additionally retain all licencing fees. All expenses related to enforcement, including wages, mileage, and court costs, will be paid by Mono.

Mono council was interested in the proposal and directed staff to further investigate how such a system would operate.

The Dufferin Municipal Officers Association struck a sub-committee to examine establishing a framework modelled on the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw passed by Orangeville.

Councils for Mono, Shelburne, and Grand Valley each expressed interest in the proposal. An agreement was prepared that would facilitate the licencing and administration of a taxi regime for each of the municipalities.

Unlike Shelburne and Grand Valley, Mono does not have a taxi bylaw. Anyone operating a taxi in Mono, including ride-share services, does so without a municipal framework specific to Mono. It is reasonable to conclude that any operator based in Mono also operates in Orangeville and/or Shelburne and would be licenced by one of those municipalities.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix said the proposed bylaw needs more work, in his view, even though it’s been passed by Orangeville.

“They’ve done a lot of work on it, and I commend them for it,” Nix said and added that Mono council has to pass the identical motion.

For the public record, Nix said there’s one serious problem with the bylaw as it stands. And that’s in the wording that states vehicles licensed by another municipality or an airport authority are exempted if transporting somebody from an airport to Dufferin County.

“This is wrong,” he said. “The bylaw should say if a vehicle licensed by another municipality transports a person to Orangeville or from Orangeville, that’s fine. It’s not covered by this bylaw. The airport is irrelevant.”

The portion of the bylaw that excludes vehicles should apply to all vehicles licensed by another municipality coming into Orangeville or Mono and dropping off a passenger, he said.

As it is, Nix said, a vehicle licensed as a taxi in Caledon can’t go pick up a passenger in Orangeville unless it also obtains an Orangeville license.

“So it’s wrong,” Nix said. “This is not the way this bylaw should read.”

He said it should read that a vehicle licensed in another municipality should be able to drop off passengers in Mono or Orangeville. Likewise, they should be able to fetch a passenger and drop them off outside Mono or Orangeville.

“The same should apply to our licensed taxis,” he said.

Indeed, the purpose of the Vehicles for Hire Bylaw is uniformity.

A unified framework for Vehicles for Hire would assist with regulating transportation network companies, including ride-share operators such as Lyft and Uber, and forming a new framework for equitable regulation within the vehicle-for-hire industry in Dufferin.

Despite the fact that it’s already been adopted by Orangeville council, Nix said he isn’t sure how it can be made to work for Mono.

“I don’t think this can be cleaned up if Orangeville has already passed the bylaw,” Nix said. “I’m not quite sure what to do expect to say I very strongly say this bylaw has a problem.”

Mark Early, the town’s CAO and clerk, said he disagreed with the deputy mayor on the bylaw’s interpretation. The bylaw’s intent is to keep a taxi from outside Mono from picking up passengers from inside Mono.

“That’s the intent,” Early said.

“That’s not what it says, Mr. Clerk,” Nix said. “It does not say that.”

Early directed the council to a section of the bylaw that indicated a taxi couldn’t accept “hail,” which is defined as a means to appeal for transportation services.

“Mr. Clerk, I’m going to very strenuously suggest that you are incorrect in disagreeing with me,” Nix said after a discussion of what it means to “hail” a taxi.

“I think the intent here is clearly to keep a cab operator from another municipality from coming into town and operating to pick up,” Early said.

“That should not be the intent,” Nix said. “The intent is to keep that taxi coming into Orangeville and picking up and dropping off within Orangeville.”

Nix said a Toronto-licensed taxi can move from Toronto to Mississauga and drop off a passenger. It can also pick up a passenger in Mississauga and go back to Toronto.

“No,” said Mayor John Creelman.

Nix said the Toronto-licensed taxi can’t pick up a passenger in Mississauga and drop that passenger off inside Mississauga.

“So we have the opportunity to vote against this,” said Creelman.

Nix suggested the council vote to accept as a first reading of the bylaw, and then fine-tune it and answer some questions before finalizing the bylaw.

Council agreed to receive the Orangeville bylaw as information and gave it a first reading.

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