Toronto City Council Update – July 2015
At the July 2015 meeting of Toronto City Council, I introduced Motion MM8.13 which recommended that:
“City Council request the City Manager, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, to report to the September 30 and October 1, 2015 City Council meeting on a complete financial analysis and cost breakdown of the expenditures for the proposed $181 million Toronto Transit Commission McNicoll Bus Garage approved by Toronto City Council.”
Unfortunately, the Motion did not receive the necessary two-thirds support to pass. However, any Motion not passed by Toronto City Council is referred to the Executive Committee.
I recently visited a municipal Bus Garage built in Oakville a few years ago. During my visit, I was advised that the Oakville Transit Bus Garage was built at a cost of $45 million and houses 175 buses. The planned TTC Bus Garage at Kennedy and McNicoll has a proposed cost of $181 million to house 250 buses. That is a cost difference of $135 million; a 400% increase in money; for only 25% more space and a few more vehicles.
I believe that there is a need for a full and complete accounting of the costs associated with the planned TTC Bus Garage.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee is September 21, 2015, beginning at 9:30am. Members of the public can make deputations (presentations) to the Committee or can submit their concerns and comments in writing.
If you are interested in making a deputation, in person, please register your interest by contacting Jennifer Forkes by telephone at 416-392-4666 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are unable to attend the Executive Committee meeting and wish to express your concerns and comments, please send them to the Executive Committee c/o Jennifer Forkes at email@example.com
I also put forward Motion MM8.12 which read –
“City Council direct the City Manager to report to the September 30, October 1, 2015 City Council meeting on an analysis of the effect the use of Uber’s car-pooling app, known as UberPool, would have on ridership of the Toronto Transit Commission.”
I am pleased that the Motion was passed by Council.
Uber has signalled it will soon launch its car-pooling app, known as UberPool, in Toronto. The company would track similar ride requests and link them together. A passenger would share a ride and split the cost with another person who requested a ride along a similar route. The program would change the economies of personal transportation, door to door.
On July 3, 2015, Mr. Justice Sean Dunphy, of the Ontario Superior Court, denied an application by the City of Toronto for an injunction against Uber, saying there is no evidence the company is operating as a taxi broker.
The taxi industry is being seriously impacted by Uber. The City needs to amend its bylaws governing the taxi industry to enable taxi companies to be more competitive with Uber and services like it.
Mayor John Tory seconded my Motion with respect to Review of Uber Operations, Technologies and Benefits and Impact on the Current Taxicab Industry. After considerable debate on this important issue, Motion MM8.28 was adopted as amended –
“1. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, to review the operations of Uber and technologies like it, including the interests of the public in the technologies and their impacts on the current taxicab industry, and report to the September 18, 2015 meeting of the Licensing and Standards Committee, on the following matters:
a. what by-law changes are necessary to bring new and emerging technologies into regulation as part of the City’s for-hire ground transportation industry;
b. how the City can ensure public safety and consumer protection are maintained;
c. how the City can ensure a level playing field is established and maintained with respect to commercial insurance, driver training, equality of fares and other licensing issues; and
d. ensure the recommended changes are reviewed at least every five years, or when deemed necessary before that time.
2. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, in consultation with the City Solicitor and the Director, Strategic Communications, to communicate with the public and unlicensed for-hire drivers about the regulations and risks for those engaged in providing or using unlicensed transportation services.
3. City Council request the Toronto Police Services Board to request the Chief of Police to enforce the Highway Traffic Act, City by-laws and all other applicable laws in respect to unlicensed drivers who transport passengers in a motor vehicle for compensation.
4. City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to enforce all applicable City by-laws in respect to unlicensed drivers who transport passengers in a motor vehicle for compensation.”