Survey reveals 70 per cent of Torontonians would not support requirement to make 100 per cent of taxis wheelchair accessible if it means replacing fuel-efficient taxis with less fuel efficient vans
TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) launched a campaign to educate Torontonians about what's at stake for taxi users in Toronto if a series of proposed taxi reforms are passed by Toronto City Council next month.
"Higher fares, longer wait times, fewer fuel-efficient taxis, and greater safety risks. These are just a few of the realities facing Toronto taxi users if these reforms are put into effect," said Gail Souter, co-founder of the TTA. "The worst part is that 83 per cent of residents don't even know a review of Toronto's taxi industry is even happening."
The Taxicab Industry Review, conducted by City of Toronto staff, will determine a list of industry issues and explore how to resolve them. The Final Report, including recommendations, is expected to be presented to City Council in the new year. Proposed reforms include: a mandate to make 100 per cent of taxis wheelchair accessible by 2025, the introduction of a new Vehicle Identity Technology (VIT) and the introduction of a new owner-operated plate called the Toronto Taxi License (TTL).
"The consequences of many of these reforms have not been thoroughly imagined, and it's our responsibility to make Torontonians aware that this review is taking place and shed light on the impact it could have if these reforms pass, said Souter. "On the surface, some of these reforms sound good in theory but when you look at the full picture, they will destroy the taxi experience in our city."
The campaign asks taxi users to learn more about the issues at Hailcabs.ca and voice their opposition to City Council by texting HAILCABS to #24680.
If these reforms are passed, how will they affect Toronto's taxi users?
- Increased fares: Proposed taxi reforms require all drivers to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles, despite the fact that less than currently 1 per cent of calls require this specialized equipment. The cost of these new accessible vehicles would ultimately be passed to passengers through increased cab fares. The TTA fully supports having a greater number of wheelchair accessible vehicles to ensure accessibility for everyone but does not support is the illogical leap that ALL taxis should be wheelchair accessible when currently only 1 per cent of calls received require this type of specialized equipment.
- Wait times: If these reforms pass, fleet operators will virtually be out of business. This means fewer taxis on the road and increased wait times, especially during peak periods like after bars close.
- Safety: Since drivers with a TTL license won't be able to lease their vehicles, they will be forced to drive longer hours, leading to unsafe conditions for drivers and passengers.
- Pollution: In order to convert all Toronto taxis to become wheelchair accessible, larger, higher-emissions vans will replace more fuel-efficient vehicles. When other cities around the world are replacing their fleets with hybrids, why would Toronto propose a change that is wasteful and reckless from an environmental standpoint?
How does the public feel about the reforms?
A recent survey hosted on the Angus Reid Forum for the TTA revealed that:
- 83 per cent of Torontonians are unaware that the Toronto Taxi Review is taking place.
- 70 per cent of Torontonians oppose the proposal to require 100 per cent of taxis to be wheelchair accessible by the year 2025 if it means that fuel-efficient taxis would be replaced with less fuel-efficient vans.
- 76 per cent of Torontonians oppose the proposal to require 100 per cent of taxis to be wheelchair accessible by the year 2025 and also be fitted with "Vehicle Identity Technology" (VIT) if it means that there would be more taxi drivers on the road with less experience and training.
- 62 per cent of Torontonians oppose the introduction of the "Toronto Taxi License" (TTL) for all new taxi owners if it could lead to taxi drivers working longer hours and creating potentially unsafe driving situations.
The TTA opposes almost all of the 44 proposed reforms, with the exception of the current two-tiered system created in 1998 by the implementation of the Ambassador permit. While the TTA believes this system requires reform, the proposed third-tier TTL plate is not a viable solution. The new TTL plate which mandates the plate owner having to drive fulltime, the inability to lease fulltime, and wheelchair accessible vehicle requirements, will lead to unfavorable consequences for both taxi drivers and taxi users.
For more information, please visit www.hailcabs.ca
From October 7th to October 10th 2013 an online survey was conducted among 1,021 randomly selected Toronto 416 residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted on age and gender according to Census data for the city of Toronto. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
SOURCE: Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA)
For further information:
Direct: 416-922-2211 ex. 3349