Ride Sharing


Background Information


With increasing popularity of ride-sharing concepts, the municipality’s role in licensing vehicles is somewhat challenged. As such, the City of St. Thomas is considering adopting a more open market philosophy to review Taxi By-Law 145-2013 and decide its functionality. This website page will host answers to some questions that the public may have surrounding this shift. Public engagement is encouraged through email or mail. Feedback will then be shared through an expanding Q&A section below. Please bookmark this page to return often in order to see the answers to public feedback questions and gain further understanding on the impacts of the proposed changes.

A report to Council was presented at the November 16, 2020 meeting whereby Council directed staff to undertake public engagement before summarizing feedback in a follow-up report.

Currently, the City of St. Thomas issues Taxi Licenses to drivers employed by cab companies operating within the city.  There is an application process including a vulnerable sector police check, valid driver’s license and letter of employment from the cab company accompanied by a license fee.  Photo identification cards are issued and are valid for the calendar year.

Because there are rapidly changing patterns and consumer behaviour in this area of transportation, there is a proposal to eliminate the need for a Taxi By-Law.

You can submit your comments by March 19, 2021 via email or mail to:
Environmental Services Department
Ride Sharing Engagement
P.O. Box 520, 545 Talbot Street
St. Thomas, ON   N5P 3V7

The personal information collected will be used in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act solely for the purposes of improving the City’s services. The names, addresses and contact information of those providing input will not be disclosed.



Is the City responsible for regulating taxi and ride-sharing companies?

Neither the Federal or Provincial regulations stipulate the requirement for a municipal “vehicle for hire” by-law, nor is this mandated within the Municipal Act, 2001 framework. Provincial legislation under the Ministry of Transportation dictates public safety requirements such as licensing, emission controls, insurance, the safe operation as well as the fit condition of motor vehicles. Furthermore, the regulation of price and consumer protection isn’t a municipal function

How will this be beneficial?

Existing taxi drivers and brokers will not be encumbered by annual licensing requirements. This will also eliminate staffing requirements and costs associated with the current process.

How will my safety be ensured?

Ride sharing companies currently require that their drivers hold a valid drivers license, provide a criminal sector background check and that their vehicle has passed safety regulations prior to their employment. Eliminating the municipalities role in this function would transfer back the responsibility to the employer to follow stringent safety measures and driver screening processes.

Why change this process now?

With the advent of Transportation Network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft which are not regulated under our current Taxi By-Law, it is time to consider a more modern framework that allows ridesharing programs, limousines, vehicles for hire and taxis to operate, without prejudice, in an arena that should be dictated by supply, demand and consumer choice, without municipal interference.

Will this increase my fares?

Traditional taxis, TNCs, and other new business models that may emerge should be subject to a level playing field, so that all participants in the industry have the opportunity to compete vigorously. Consumers can expect to enjoy the benefits of this increased competition, including lower prices, greater convenience and availability, and better quality of service through improved technology.

What process will the City be following to review the issue?
City will receive and review feedback and incorporate them into the Q&A section. At the end of the public engagement period, information will be compiled and summarized in a report to Council. 
Is the decision already made?
No. City staff are seeking community input at this time and will report back to council. Council will make the final decision about changing any bylaws.