New COVID-19 rules limit Edmonton taxis, ride-hailing vehicles to 1 passenger or household group

Edmonton taxis, limousines and ride-hailing services can no longer pick up more than one passenger at a time, unless the others are from the same household, are in a close personal relationship, or are required caregivers.

Vehicles such as shuttle buses can take more than one passenger only if the size and capacity of the vehicle allows for two metres between each passenger and the driver, the City of Edmonton said in a news release.

The restrictions are detailed in a State of Local Emergency Order issued by the city Wednesday, bringing ride-for-hire services into line with other businesses.

“The vehicle for hire industry has been deemed an essential service and these new requirements ensure they can continue to operate in a manner that is safe for both drivers and passengers,” the news release said.

Passengers will no longer be permitted in front seats. Instead the seats will be used for cleaning and disinfecting supplies which are to be kept in plain view, the release said.

The order stipulates that after each fare, drivers must clean and disinfect door handles, window controls, locks, the passenger seating area, seat belts, buckles and payment devices.

Also, “any vehicle that provides service to a passenger who is demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat, or who otherwise indicates that they are at risk of having COVID-19, must be immediately removed from service and thoroughly sanitized,” the order states.

Drivers are to use personal protective equipment when providing physical support to passengers.

The city said enforcement teams will be used to ensure drivers adhere to the new rules.

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