Toronto has a large fleet of taxis; they are probably the most expensive way to traverse the city, but 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. They may or may not be affiliated with a brokerage (taxi company). The other standard plates are operated 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 radio and GPS dispatch and most recently using a smart phone app (Hail-o).

Fares 

As of July 2010, taxis have a meter drop fare of $4.25 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. 

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. 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 cab in advance, and be prepared to wait up to fifteen minutes for its arrival.

Most taxis are midsized American and Japanese sedans that will seat four passengers.  The most common models in use are Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Impala. Minivan taxis are rarer, so it is best to call 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. 

Accessibility

With new regulations passed by City Council, begining July 01, 2014, Toronto will convert to a fully accessible fleet within 10 years. Initially, an additional 290 of the new plates called the Toronto Taxi License (TTL) will be issued. By July 01, 2024 all Ambassador and Standard plates will be converted to the owner/operator accessible TTL plate. It is believed these changes will make all Toronto taxicabs compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Alternatively, there is a para-transit fleet operated by the Toronto Transit Commission called WheelTrans that requires users to register and then all trips must be booked ahead.

 

What the various colours mean 

 Major Taxi Companies (Brokerages) in Toronto
 Name  Colour of Cars  Telephone Number
 Beck  Orange/Green  416-751-5555
 Maple Leaf  Blue With White Stripe  416-465-5555
 CO-OP  Red/Yellow  416-504-2667
 Diamond  Black/Orange  416-366-6868
 Royal  Dark Blue  416-777-9222
 Crown  Yellow  416-292-1212

 

Taxis from Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) Airport

Porter Airlines and Air Canada Jazz operate commercial flights from the downtown airport. Although a land linked tunnel is under construction, passengers must take one of the world's shortest ferry rides to the Toronto islands. 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 for Pearson airport or an agreed upon flat rates to other towns and cities.

Taxis & Limos To or From Pearson International Airport

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.

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.