Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Toronto Council votes for “safety” as vehicle for hire licensing will be paused until driver training program is in place

Councillor Kristan Wong-Tam introduced the original motion which passed at Council November 10th.

Toronto Council voted to direct staff to stop issuing licenses to vehicle for hire drivers until a training program is in place.

The motion, put forward and subsequently amended by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam passed by a vote of 22-3 with only Councillors Colle, Holyday and Minnan-Wong voting against it.

The vote became, as noted by Mayor John Tory, “about safety. After all, as I’ve heard everyone say tonight, this is about safety.”

After Councillor Stephen Holyday expressed fears about the fact that a training requirement would cause a driver shortage, a rise in prices, or both, Wong-Tam assured him that any Uber, Lyft or Taxi driver in the city would tell him there were far more drivers than business on the street: “The financial district is at about 20 per cent capacity and the City has not recovered from COVID. Any driver will tell you there is not enough business for the thousands of drivers already on the street, and they cannot earn a living now.”

Perhaps the most breathtaking moment of the meeting was Councillor Gord Perks’ heartfelt admission that Toronto Council had made a mistake when it eliminated training “because it did not fit Uber’s business model.” He expressed sincere regret for the decision that was made in 2016.

In the same motion, Council voted to allow Taxi drivers to continue to access the Accessibility Fund. Holyday and Minnan-Wong also voted against that.

Taxi News will have more detailed coverage and video clips in the hours ahead.