About intercommunity passenger transportation

Intercommunity passenger transportation refers to passenger transportation services being offered for a fee between different municipalities in Ontario. Intercommunity passenger transportation vehicles include:

  • busses that can carry 10 or more passengers
  • smaller vehicles with a seating capacity of one to nine passengers

Deregulation

As part of the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, Ontario deregulated the intercommunity passenger transportation sector effective July 1, 2021.

This means intercommunity vehicle operators in Ontario no longer need a public vehicle operating licence to provide services on a specific route. We expect deregulation will:

  • reduce red tape and regulatory burden on businesses
  • provide carriers more opportunities to access markets
  • fill service gaps and improve transportation options for Ontarians

Requirements for all intercommunity vehicle operators

All intercommunity service providers must give a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to the public and passengers when there is a change in scheduled service. Service providers must communicate these changes by:

  • providing notice on the company web site
  • sending an electronic message (for example, an email or text message) to customers who purchased a ticket
  • posting a notice at scheduled stops

Starting in 2022 to 2023, all intercommunity service providers will be required to complete a form and submit data to the ministry once annually. This could include information on:

  • routes being operated
  • route schedules
  • vehicle fleet and types of vehicles
  • information about ridership (maintained as commercially sensitive)

Requirements for intercommunity vehicles that carry 10 or more passengers

Operators of buses with a carrying capacity of 10 or more passengers are:

Updates to safety requirements for buses

To reduce regulatory burden on businesses and ensure Ontario’s roads remain among the safest in North America, we consulted the carrier industry on updated safety requirements under deregulation.

Effective July 1, 2021, intercommunity bus operators with a seating capacity of 10 or more passengers are required to meet the following safety requirements. Requirements will continue to be enforced by police and MTO Transportation Enforcement Officers.

Emergency exits

Operators of modified buses with a National Safety Mark are required to have an additional exit, such as two doors or six pushout windows.

Operators of unmodified buses with a Transport Canada’s National Safety Mark are not required to have a second exit or alternative push-out windows.

Defined emergency equipment in the Highway Traffic Act

Bus operators are required to carry a fire extinguisher on board.

Towing a trailer

Instead of issuing permits, Ontario is moving to a regulated vehicle weights and dimensions regime for intercommunity passenger transportation vehicle operators who want to pull a trailer. Information on bus trailer combinations allowed are included in a regulation under the Highway Traffic Act.

Bike racks on buses

Operators can use bike racks on their buses if the vehicle remains within the maximum regulated length limit. Operators will be required to get a permit if the bike rack causes the bus to exceed permitted overall length limits.

Requirements for intercommunity vehicles that carry one to nine passengers

We introduced new safety requirements for vehicles with a seating capacity of one to nine passengers (under-10 vehicles) being used for intercommunity passenger transportation, effective July 1, 2021.

As part of the vehicle registration process, under-10 vehicle operators are required to inform the province:

  • when an under-10 vehicle is being used to provide intercommunity transportation services
  • that they meet the minimum driver, insurance and vehicle safety requirements in the Highway Traffic Act
  • when an under-10 vehicle is no longer being used to provide intercommunity transportation services

Municipally licenced vehicles-for-hire are not required to get an under-10 vehicle permit and are subject to municipal requirements.

Under-10 vehicle declaration and program requirements

Passenger transportation vehicles with a seating capacity of one to nine passengers offering for-compensation transportation services between municipalities are subject to registration and safety requirements.

The requirements apply to passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles with a registered gross weight of up to and including 4,500 kg.

Operators of under-10 vehicles must meet all program requirements and bring a completed and signed Declaration – Under 10 Passenger Transportation Vehicle to a ServiceOntario location to register the vehicle in the program.

Operators of under-10 vehicles must:

  • meet minimum insurance requirements:
    • $2 million for vehicles with a seating capacity of one to seven passengers
    • $5 million for vehicles with a seating capacity of eight to nine passengers
    • $5,000 for damage to passengers’ property
  • undergo a twice-annual safety inspection at a licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Station
  • display a valid visual identifier (semi-annual inspection sticker) on the outside of the vehicle (front lower corner of the passenger window) so people can identify U10 vehicles
  • have an under-10 vehicle identifier on the vehicle registration permit and registration record
  • have a fire extinguisher
  • ensure under-10 vehicle drivers have a full class G Ontario driver’s licence or higher
  • ensure under-10 vehicle drivers are 18 years of age or older

Vehicles exempted from under-10 requirements

The following passenger transportation services are exempted from under-10 declaration and program requirements:

  • ambulances or patient transfer services vehicles
  • municipally licensed passenger transportation vehicles including taxis and vehicles-for-hire
  • carpool vehicles where no fee is charged beyond the expenses of operating the vehicle and the driver does not take passengers on more than one round-trip or one-way trip per day
  • vehicles operated by or on behalf of a childcare centre licensed under the Child Care and Early Years Act
  • a service provider under the Home Care and Community Services Act
  • a licensee under the Long-Term Care Homes Act
  • passenger transportation vehicles operated within a local municipality, the Regional Municipality of Niagara, or the Regional Municipality of Waterloo

Register an intercommunity vehicle that carries one to nine passengers

Follow these steps to register an intercommunity vehicle that carries one to nine passengers.

Step 1: Ensure that your vehicle meets the program requirements.

Step 2: Complete and sign a Declaration – Under 10 Passenger Transportation Vehicle form and bring it to a ServiceOntario location along with your current vehicle ownership permit.

Step 3: The form will be processed at ServiceOntario and returned to you. You must keep it in your records.

Step 4: You will be provided a new vehicle ownership permit with an under-10 declaration at no cost. The permit will indicate that your under-10 vehicle provides intercommunity passenger transportation services.

Step 5: Upon request, you will be required to report details (for example, on your Passenger Transportation Vehicle operations) to the Ministry of Transportation.

Note: There are no additional costs for registering a vehicle as under-10. You will not be charged for the new vehicle ownership permit if you are only adding an under-10 declaration.

How to declare an under-10 vehicle is exiting the program

Step 1: Complete and sign a Declaration – Under10 Passenger Transportation Vehicle form and check the box indicating “I will no longer use the vehicle for a purpose for which a under-10 permit is required.”

Step 2: Bring the completed form to a ServiceOntario location where you will be issued a new permit at no cost.

Under-10 permits will be automatically cancelled if you:

  • transfer your vehicle ownership
  • add any of the following vehicle declarations:
    • Personal Use Only (PUO)
    • Municipal Fire Truck (MFT or MF3)
    • Permanently attached apparatus or machine (PAR)
  • add any of the following registrant declarations:
    • Active Service (ARM)
    • Consular Corps (CCA)
    • Diplomatic Corps (CDA)
    • Foreign National (XOR/XTR)
    • Church School (CHS)
    • Federal Government (FDA)
    • Ontario Government (ONA)
    • Red Cross (RDX)
    • Order of St. John/St. John Ambulance (STJ)
Updated: June 30, 2021
Published: June 29, 2021