Toronto is not considering an absolute cap on the 79,537 rideshare vehicles currently licensed as part of its “Net Zero” program, attendees at the first Vehicle for Hire “Net Zero” feedback session heard on April 17th.
Other questions by attendees included whether insurance companies are willing to insure fully-electric Vehicles for Hire (VFH) in Toronto, and whether the City plans to involve “increasing fuel efficiency” as part of VFH driver training program.
The number of VFHs is “Not a question that we have the data, the actual answer to,” Fiona Chapman, Director of Business Licensing and Regulatory Services replied to a question on the number of VFH currently on the street. The pie chart breaking down the types of vehicles was from 2019, pre-COVID.
Later in the day, Media staff provided Taxi News with the current breakdown of Vehicle for Hire licenses: there are 79,537 Private Transportation Company (PTC) licensed and 6,710 taxicabs and limousines. Whether Toronto would consider an absolute cap on PTC vehicles, Chapman noted “That question was not something that is part of this particular work plan. Our colleagues in transportation services do conduct congestion and traffic impact surveys using the data that they have available to them. Those reports come before Council, and we anticipate that that next report will be part of the work for the very beginning of 2024.”
On the topic of insurance, a critical issue for VFH drivers, Toronto’s Policy Officer Jason Cho stated “With regards to insurance, we’re aware of that insuring costs are of an impact to the vehicle of our industry. We have engaged with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to raise this issue and they are aware of this. We’ve also actually engaged the Ontario Ministry of Finance as auto insurance is actually provincially regulated and so they are exploring this issue with regards to insurance costs. So, that’s what we’re trying to do from our end, as I mentioned, the insurance industry or the auto insurance is regulated by the province.”
There is no plan to include fuel efficiency unit in VFH driver training at present, Chapman noted, although it could be considered when the program is assessed in early 2024.
With regard to affordability, the concept of a “grant” to help offset the expensive of fully electric vehicles was floated; however, any such grant would kick in after all reductions in licensing fees are eliminated (see slides at right). Whether the grant would provide any net-benefit to operators will remain to be seen. “The amounts are to be determined, but we did introduce the principle,” Chapman noted.
One attendee asked “In the event that over the next seven years, the whole CO2 driven climate change narrative should collapse. would the city be willing to abandon this net zero policy?”
“We’ve obviously set the target and the proposal to the council, but we will be monitoring the development of the charging infrastructure and the vehicle availability for the sector up to 2030,” noted Chapman. “If we felt that counsel should potentially reconsider, for whatever reasons, we would certainly bring that forward.”
The final online Virtual Information Session will take place on April 19th, from 5:30pm to 6:15pm. Interested parties can register here.
Online Survey: You are also encouraged to complete the online survey and submit additional feedback, especially if you are unable to attend the virtual information sessions. The deadline to submit feedback is April 21.
Email Feedback: You can also submit feedback by email to [email protected]