Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Toronto roads now carry 55,000 ground transportation vehicles where there used to be 5,500 Taxis.
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Licensing consultation schedule for November report being developed

Facilitator to be hired this spring

Taxi News has requested details on any and all consultations to be held before Licensing and Standards staff write the November 2024 ground transportation report as directed by Council.

“The City is procuring the services of a third-party facilitator to support these consultations and discussions; the process is underway and a vendor is expected to be chosen in the spring,” Shane Gerard, Senior Communications Coordinator in Toronto’s Media Office replied to Taxi News in an email on April 2nd.

The single largest issue to be dealt with in the report may be a cap on the number of Private Transportation Company (PTC) vehicle licenses, as Councillors hoping to achieve “net zero” emissions were shocked to discover the number of ground transportation vehicles in Toronto had exploded from licensed 5,500 Taxis in 2016 to 55,000 vehicles in 2023.

However, it is expected staff will research and report on a number of other issues, some of them urgent. Toronto’s Accessible Taxi program, for example, will virtually cease to exist in January 2025 when the last of the Accessible vans funded privately by Taxi operators will age out of the system. Few if any owners plan to invest in new customized vehicles, for which there may be up to a one-year wait.

“The City is currently planning public and stakeholder consultations over late spring/early summer of 2024 with members of the vehicle-for-hire industry to obtain their feedback on a range of issues, including accessibility, data and vehicle for hire licensing,” Gerard writes.

While Toronto aims toward making every ground transportation vehicle 100 per cent electric as part of its “net zero” program, the November staff report is not expected to answer the question of how this can occur when there are no insurance companies offering coverage for fully electric Taxis.

“The consultations will not be focused on insurance for vehicle-for-hires, as the insurance products offered by brokers and companies are under the purview of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC),” Gerard writes. Taxi News has requested further information on this discussion area from IBC.

“Feedback from these consultations will be integrated in a report for the consideration of City Council in late November/December 2024. More details will be made available at toronto.ca/vehicle-for-hire-bylaw-updates in the spring, ahead of the start of consultations,” Gerard concludes.

Mayor Olivia Chow speaks to the issue of allowing unlimited ground transportation vehicles to cruise Toronto streets in October, 2023. Video: YouTube