Toronto is ringing in the new year with some updated rules for Uber and Lyft drivers. From now on, 'vehicles for hire' will have to go through tougher screenings before they are able to start working on roads. Toronto Uber requirements will be stricter in the new year. The same goes for Lyft, taxis, and limousines.  The new rules took effect on Wednesday, January 1, according to a Toronto news release. New drivers who wish to work as vehicles for hire will have to have a minimum of three years of experience on the road. The previous requirement was just one year.All drivers will now also need to complete a city-approved training program before starting the job or renewing their license. The training program will include regulations that cover a multitude of topics that have proven to be issues in the past. These topics relate to driving in an urban setting, providing accessible service, anti-racism training, and transporting passengers in a safe manner, according to the press release. There will also be regulations for the cars of private transportation companies (PTCs). These include certain required signage that must be visible to all those in the vehicle. 

Drivers are now required by law to prop up their phone in a secure manner and to put up a 'Watch For Bike' sticker somewhere visible. It will also be mandatory to send push notifications to their passengers to look out for bikes before exiting the vehicle. Drivers will also need to inform their passengers if they have a camera in the car. They can do this by either putting up a notice in the car or in the app to make it known if the ride is being recorded.

There are also new rules for accessibility. There will now be an Accessibility Fund Program to help with the cost of providing wheelchair-accessible service in vehicles. According to CBC, 10 cents from every Uber or Lyft ride will be donated to the program. Those funds will be disbursed to wheelchair-accessible taxis/rideshare drivers. Those whose cars are already accessible will be exempt from any fees, according to the Toronto website

Some of these new regulations are to ensure safer rides after the year of controversy that Uber and Lyft have faced. Uber has made efforts in the past for safer rides, such as when they made efforts to combat human trafficking. They also made efforts in the past to stop the surge of fake drivers who were picking up unsuspecting victims.  With the new rules that Toronto is now putting into place, here's hoping for the safest year yet in rideshare services.

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