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Extending age of Accessible Vans to 10 years to be discussed by Toronto Council today

Above is the live link to Council July 20th.

Toronto Councillors will consider a temporary extension of the allowable age for Accessible Vans to 10 years today.

Agenda item GL32.29 is presented with a report from Licensing and Standards staff which reads in part:

“Due to on-going supply chain issues, which have affected the motor vehicle industry, it is anticipated that there will be an insufficient number of vans that can be converted to be wheelchair-accessible in Toronto and surrounding areas within the timeframe necessary to comply with the existing requirements of Chapter 546. This may prevent wheelchair-accessible taxicab owners from being able to replace their vehicles resulting in reduced availability of accessible vehicles for the Toronto Transit Commission Wheel-Trans’ contracted services and affecteffect on-demand wheelchair-accessible transportation services in the city.

“Staff recommend amending Chapter 546 such that, until December 31, 2025, a wheelchair-accessible taxicab may be up to 10 model years old. On January 1, 2026, this provision would be repealed such that wheelchair-accessible taxicabs will again be required to be no more than 7 model years old. This will provide the flexibility for taxicab operators to continue to provide accessible transportation services while providing time for supply chain issues to resolve and taxicab owners to source and purchase appropriate replacement vehicles. Taxicab owners will continue to be required to submit annual mechanical safety inspection certificates and comply with all safety and maintenance requirements in Chapter 546 to ensure that the wheelchair-accessible vehicles continue to be safe to operate as taxicabs.”

This item passed quickly at the recent General Government and Licensing Committee meeting and is widely expected to pass without much debate today. To delay it means Toronto might face the prospect of losing more than half of the Accessible vans now on the road: “Of the 600 licensed wheelchair-accessible taxicabs currently operating in Toronto, 370 wheelchair-accessible taxicabs, representing 62 percent of the wheelchair-accessible taxicab fleet in Toronto will reach their vehicle age limit at the end of 2022 and must be replaced,” the report reads.

The lack of a coherent, effective long-term strategy for Accessible transportation was the topic of a Taxi News opinion column on July 18th, in which it was noted that an comprehensive new Accessible plan is necessary “before the vans, the drivers, and the systems fall apart completely.”