Airport taxis can work downtown too, the Ontario government has ruled.

The province amended the City of Toronto Act to allow airport-license cabs to operate both at Pearson and within city limits.

Previously, a by-law prevented them from picking up other fares.

“We don’t solicit,” argued limousine driver Wally Kakish, who applauds the move. “We don’t go to the hotels, we don’t pick up from the streets. We only pick up the customers if they call us on a pre-arranged basis.”

In the past, airport taxis and limousines driving passengers downtown were prevented from taking new passengers back to Pearson. Instead, they would return empty.

The by-law had been in place since December 31, 2007.

As reported by the Globe and Mail
, Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson signed the changes into place on July 30. City councillor Howard Moscoe admitted he’s not impressed by the province’s actions.

“This way is a total stab in the back, it undermines the whole licensing scheme,” Moscoe said.

A spokesperson for Watson defended the move, saying it levels the playing field. And though the City may be angry with the decision, there’s no avenue to appeal it.

Toronto-licensed taxis and limos had been fighting for 30 years to win the exclusive rights to take passengers to the airport, but their victory was short-lived.

According to the paper, here’s how the numbers break down:

Standard Taxi Plates: 3,400
Ambassador Plates: 1,540
Licensed Limos: 500
Airport Taxis/Limos: 650

Airport Taxis Given Green Light For City Fares