Rideshare taxis provide “on demand” passenger transportation booking services through an application on your smartphone.
These booking services (e.g., Uber and Lyft) don’t own the vehicles used for transportation, but hire people with cars that drive on their behalf. The booking service collects a fee from the passenger’s credit card, takes a percentage, and pays the vehicle owner.
In order to transport passengers for compensation, a vehicle must be registered under Class PT with a minimum of $1M in liability insurance.
Municipal approval, such as a taxi licence, may be required before issuing a Class PT plate or may require the vehicle to be inspected. Municipal bylaws may further regulate the operation of rideshare taxi services and drivers should check with their local municipality prior to meeting any of the vehicle registration requirements.
Private vehicles - Class LV
Transporting passengers for compensation with a Class LV plate is not allowed. Consequences for doing so include fines under The Traffic Safety Act and/or local bylaws and may jeopardize your vehicle insurance coverage.
While running a rideshare taxi service is not illegal, transporting passengers for compensation while not properly licensed and insured is. Any penalties would be brought against the vehicle owner/operator.
Limousines - Class PB
Limousines and other similar vehicles that transport passengers for compensation are registered under Class PB. Owners of Class PB plates require an Operating Authority Certificate issued by the Highway Traffic Board (HTB). Each certificate is unique in that it outlines the operating conditions required when transporting passengers for hire.
Note: Class PB vehicles are restricted from operating in a manner similar to a taxi, which means they cannot be used to provide transportation through a rideshare application.
Driver licensing requirements
The driver of a Class PT vehicle who transports passengers must have a Class 4 driver’s licence. SGI also requires a periodic medical and a Certificate of Approval from the municipal law enforcement agency where the driver will be operating.
If a booking company tells you driving passengers for hire in a Class LV vehicle is covered by their insurance, they may not be familiar with municipal and provincial laws and bylaws. Municipal bylaws may further regulate the operation of rideshare taxi services and drivers should check with their local municipality prior to meeting any of the driver’s licence requirements.
Illegal transportation of passengers
Transporting passengers for compensation without the proper driver’s licence may void the insurance on your vehicle, and you would be subject to fines under both municipal bylaws and provincial legislation for operating illegally. If you’re involved in a collision that causes damage to someone else’s vehicles or property, you would most likely be held liable for covering those costs as well.
While the booking company may be offering coverage under their blanket insurance, it would be up to you to recover payment for any losses you incur. The individual driver that is transporting passengers for compensation would be in violation and subject to prosecution.
Personal taxi services are not carpools
Private car pools are allowed using Class LV. A car pool needs to be a private arrangement where the participants are travelling to a common destination. For example, co-workers may choose to car pool to work, this is legal on Class LV vehicles.
Rideshare taxi services would not fall within a private car pool arrangement as the arrangement is not private nor are the participants travelling to a common destination.