Thursday, June 20, 2024
Gurjeet Dhillon of Scarborough City Cabs reminded Councillors that the Taxi industry had made major strides in reducing emissions before Toronto scrapped the program to permit rideshare. Photo: YouTube
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Net Zero meeting minutes mean electric Taxi requirement moving ahead

Minutes posted to Toronto’s website on September 23rd indicate that Taxis and rideshare vehicles will need to be 100 per cent electric by 2030. Although several industry deputants including an insurance broker told Councillors that no one is offering insurance coverage for fully electric Taxis in Toronto, this issue remained outstanding at the end of the meeting when the staff report was adopted with amendments and was not referred to in the minutes.

Taxi industry members including Abdul Mohamoud of Co-op Cabs; ; Gurjeet Dhillon of Scarborough City Cab; and Kristine Hubbard of Beck Taxi all pointed out that the Taxi industry were early adopters of hybrid technology and supported the move to lower emissions vehicles a decade ago, before rideshare was legalized and Toronto Council permitted the number of vehicles cruising for rides to explode from 5,500 to 86,000.

Item EC6.6 – Transitioning the Vehicle-for-Hire Industry to Net Zero Emissions by 2030 will require an individual, “as of the date they are first granted a taxicab owner, limousine owner, or private transportation company driver licence or its renewal after December 31, 2029 to register and use a Zero Emissions Vehicle, and to require that as of January 1, 2031 all vehicles-for-hire must be Zero Emissions Vehicles, subject to the exceptions outlined below.”

Exemptions include allowing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to operate as vehicles-for-hire until December 31, 2032, and making Accessible Taxis and stretch limos subject to further study.

At the September 21st Economic Development (ED) Committee meeting, numerous deputations and considerable discussion were dedicated to the topic of transitioning Toronto’s Vehicle for Hire (VFH) industry to 100 per cent electric vehicles. By the end of the discussion, Councillors including Paula Fletcher and Chair Alejandro Bravo appeared to have outstanding concerns about the availability of sufficient vehicles and charging stations to make the concept feasible.

Councillor Shelley Carrol also asked staff if the adoption of the current report would still allow elements of the plan to be reconsidered in future. Subsequently, ED Committee referred Recommendations 3 to 11 “to the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards until such time as the General Manager, Transportation Services and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards report back on a comprehensive framework for the Vehicles-for-Hire industry, so that the the Zero Emissions Grant proposal is considered at the same time.”

Recommendations 3 to 11 deal with establishment of a “grant” to owners of VFH zero emissions vehicles. However, as noted by Co-op’s Abdul Mohamoud, funds used simply to pay an Taxi owners license fees to the City do not actually qualify as a grant. Private Transportation Company drivers are expected to receive the funds directly without tying them to payment of City fees.

Gurjeet Dhillon of Scarborough City Cab provides a deputation to ED Commitee September 21, 2023.