Limos face police board licensing similar to taxis

Limos face police board licensing similar to taxis

Limos face police board licensing similar to taxis

By Brendan Wedley, Peterborough Examiner – 

Limousine companies and other for-profit transportation business will soon fall under similar licensing and regulations through city police as taxis in Peterborough.

The Peterborough-Lakefield Police Services Board will consider Tuesday a bylaw that would bring into effect measures such as annual licence fees for limousine drivers and vehicles, mandated criminal background checks for drivers and minimum requirements for insurance coverage.

Chief Murray Rodd says the bylaw will improve public safety and regulate “what is a blind spot in public transportation industry.”

Driving Miss Daisy, a business that provides assistance and accompaniment services for seniors and people with disabilities, is getting caught up by the new bylaw.

It would likely put the local Driving Miss Daisy franchise out of business because being classified as a limousine service would increase its auto insurance to almost $15,000 per year from about $3,000 a year, said Bob Doornenbal, Driving Miss Daisy’s director of marketing and development.

“We cannot afford to charge seniors limousine rates,” he stated.

Doornenbal added that Driving Miss Daisy meets the insurance coverage requirements specified in the proposed bylaw but the designation as a limousine would affect the insurance plan.

Driving Miss Daisy provides transportation services for seniors. It’s part of the accompaniment service. It goes beyond providing a ride to help with running errands, medical appointments, personal shopping and event accompaniment.

Transportation is an incidental part of the business, said Doornenbal, who is a former Examiner advertising director.

“It’s crazy that we’re being considered as a limousine,” he said. “Limos offer rides. We offer a service.”

When the first draft of the bylaw was circulated, the definition for a limousine included community care vehicles, Doornenbal said.

Driving Miss Daisy argued that the Ontario Highway Transport Board ruled it wasn’t a “for hire” transportation company and didn’t require it to get an operating licence.

The final draft replaced the community care vehicles definition with an exemption for not-for-profit transportation.

The police services board will consider the bylaw at a special public meeting starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at police headquarters at Water and McDonnel streets.

The annual broker fee for limousine owners would be $150. On top of the broker fee, there would be an annual fee of $50 for each limousine vehicle licence and an annual fee of $50 for a limousine driver’s licence. It would cost $100 to apply for a new limousine driver’s licence.

It’s the same treatment given to taxi companies, Rodd said.

“If you’re putting the public in the back of a vehicle for a fee, the person driving it should not be a risk to the public, the vehicle should not be a risk to the occupant and should things go bad it should be covered by insurance,” he said.

Public transit, school buses, ambulances and funeral hearses also get exemptions from the bylaw.

The bylaw would apply to limousine businesses located in the city and that operate substantially in the city.

The main concern limousine owners have with the bylaw is that out-of-town limousine businesses could have an advantage if they’re not subject to the same fees because they could charge lower rates, said Barry Simmons, owner of Ambassador Limousine Service.

“Most of the limousine companies here in town, we’re small businesses. We’re not employing six or eight people. We’re two or three people. Anything they put on us is going to be felt,” he said.

brendan.wedley@sunmedia.ca

 

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