Somebody needs to explain this to them before they mandate 100 per cent EV Taxis
Here are my Top Ten thoughts after the “Net Zero” meeting at Economic Development Committee, September 21st, 2023:
- Not one single Toronto Councillor, nor any one of the MLS staff, grasp the fact that no insurers are insuring fully electric vehicles as Taxis in Toronto.
Someone needs to explain this to them before they mandate 100% EV-Taxis, only to find out none of those Taxis will then be able to get insurance. This fact alone seems more important than anything else discussed at the meeting.
2) Toronto’s Taxi industry showed up as reasonable and professional in this meeting.
Taxi deputants spoke reasonably, intelligently and well. Clearly the Taxi industry, which led the way in the adoption of hybrid vehicles, is not opposed to EVs. People are concerned about the all-or-nothing approach Toronto is taking, and the risk of leaving Taxis stranded with no insurance, no vehicles for purchase, and no grid for charging. This came through in the deputations.
3) Committee Chair Alejandro Bravo seems sharp, smart and quick.
Her common-sense suggestion that Committee should addressing issues and concerns that were being brought up was such a departure from the last nine years in Toronto, I had to rub my eyes and replay the tape to double check that she actually said that.
4) Uber’s spokespersons are a special kind of smarmy.
5) Even with a cold, Councillor Paula Fletcher (teleconferencing in from home because she was sick) was still the quickest mind at the meeting.
She may be the only Councillor who grasps the risks of rolling out an EV plan with a plan for a grid with charging stations.
6) The insurance industry would be performing a great public service if it could explain to MLS staff and Councillors the difference between 24 hour/Commercial coverage (which Taxis have) and the part-time wrap around insurance (which rideshare drivers are supposed to have but sometimes do not, as Insurance Broker Nadir Khairallah warned them in his deputation).
7) On the topic of the electrical grid and charging stations, there is no plan yet in existence. Paula Fletcher and Alejandro Brave are right to be concerned about this.
8) No one remembers the Propane conversions of the 1980s and 1990s.
Converting cabs to Propane was also going to reduce emissions and save drivers money. Mostly, it made it impossible for converted cabs to enter undergound garages or put luggage in their trunks. People should remember this pointless episode in Toronto’s Taxi history while they are mandating 100 per cent anything.
9) The whole concept of “Net Zero” seems more like a religion than rational public policy. The giddy euphoria of Councillors and guests gushing about “leadership” and “being on track to 2030” when no one has any idea if or how this is can happen was alarming and disturbing.
10) The September 21st Economic Development meeting did feel as though “a page has been turned” in relations between the Taxi industry and the City of Toronto – in a good way.