As of May 03, 2016, taxis are now part of the Toronto Ground Transportation Services that include limousines taxis and Uber X.Toronto has a large fleet of taxis; and they are a single price (no price surging) They come in handy when you are in a rush or have a lot of luggage in tow. Taxis in Toronto are privately owned. The Ambassador license in an owner operated cab the owner driver drives 12 hours a day maximum Ambassador owners may now allow other drivers to drive their cab too. They may or may not be affiliated with a brokerage (taxi company). All taxis can operate 24/7 usually by self employed operators who rent shifts. The sole purpose of the brokerage is to find customers for the drivers. This is done by GPS dispatch and most recently using smart phone apps.
As of November 01, 2015, taxis have a meter drop (starting) fare of $3.25 (down $1 from before) to start your ride, with an additional $0.25 for every following 0.143 km (about two blocks) or for every 29 seconds waiting time. In addition, there is an extra charge for more than 4 passengers, $2.00 each additional person. HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) is included in the fare. A typical tip is 15-20% of the fare. Most cabs accept credit cards or debit card payment via a Point of Sale machine (POS). There is an additional charge for the use of a card. Cash is still the fastest and cheapest way to pay. Ask the driver if their credit card/bank machine is working before the start of the trip as claiming the machine doesn't work is a common scam to get you to pay in (income tax free) cash. There is no surge pricing with cabs so don't agree to pay anything over the meter rate. The meter must be on or the ride is free.
Drivers are required to take the shortest route or your preferred route. Fares are regulated by the city, so all taxis will have the same fares. For shorter distances, it may be more economical to share a cab among a few people than to pay separately for other forms of public transportation. Keep in mind that the driver cannot arrange the cab sharing. Trips outside of the city are often unmetered, negotiate a fare with the driver beforehand. Standardized flat rate fares to the airport are available. Just ask the driver.
Hailing a Taxi
Taxis in the downtown area are relatively easy to catch just by standing on the curb of any major street and waving at an approaching cab with its rooftop light on. (The light is turned off when already engaged.) Also, major hotels often have a line of cabs waiting outside. In more residential or industrial areas you may need to call a brokerage for a cab in advance, and be prepared to wait up to fifteen minutes for its arrival. Limousine and Uber drivers cannot pick up hail customers.
Most taxis are midsized American and Japanese sedans that will seat four passengers (except accessible vehicles). The most common models in use are Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Impala. Minivan taxis and accessible cabs are rarer, so it is best to call a brokerage in advance if you need one. Many brokerages will request an additional fee but the City of Toronto Municipal Code does not allow for additional fees for vans other than the flat extra $2.00 per person when there are more than 4 people. There must be one seatbelt available for each person in the vehicle. Taxis are generally in good shape, and many are less than 5 years old.
With new regulations to be passed by City Councilin June, 2016, AccessibleToronto taxis must have a similar wait time to regular cabs. It is believed these changes will make most Toronto taxicabs compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Alternatively, there is a para-transit fleet operated by independant provincially licenced operators. All trips must be booked ahead and a flat rate is charged.
What the various colours mean
Porter Airlines and Air Canada Jazz operate commercial flights from the downtown airport. There is a $20 charge added to the flight costs to use the new tunnel from the mainland to the island. There is a new entrance and a large cab stand at the foot of Bathurst street. Drivers must use the meter for all fares within the City of Toronto but can offer a standardized flat rate to Pearson airport or an agreed upon flat rates to other towns and cities.
To get to the airport from anywhere in Toronto, you can hail any taxi on the street or get one from a hotel's taxi queue. Drivers can offer a standardized airport flat rate based on the distance to the airport. They are required to have several maps indicating the price
However, you can also book a licensed airport taxi or limousine to take you to or from Pearson International Airport at a pre-arranged rate Taxi & Limo Rates. See the article Getting Downtown from Pearson Airport for links to airport taxi and limousine companies.
Pearson Airport is in the City of Mississauga. While any taxi can drop off passengers at the airport, it is illegal for Toronto taxis to pick up passengers at the airport without prior arrangement. Some do anyway: if approached by someone in the airport terminal offering you a ride, ignore them or report them to a uniformed airport employee. These are unlicensed and uninsured private vehicles.