Should taxis be treated as public transit on King Street?
Tory asks staff to exempt taxis from King turn restrictions
Mayor John Tory wants the city to give more consideration to how taxi drivers will be affected by the King Street pilot project, after cab industry representatives argued that for-hire vehicles should be treated as a form of public transit.
The pilot, which prioritizes streetcar service while restricting movement of private cars on King, was endorsed by the mayor’s executive committee Monday. The project will go to council next month for final approval.
In a speech before the vote, Tory said the city needs to take action to alleviate congestion on one of its main downtown thoroughfares.
“I haven’t found anybody yet who doesn’t agree with the notion King St. is not working in its present form. It’s dysfunctional,” Tory said.
Under the pilot’s proposed design, drivers would be forced to turn right at the end of each major block, effectively eliminating through traffic on King. City staff predict the restrictions will reduce car traffic on the street by about 50 per cent, freeing up space for streetcars.
But after hearing from representatives of taxi companies who complained they had not been adequately consulted on the plan, Tory moved a motion asking city staff to consult with the industry and consider exempting taxis from the proposed turning restrictions.
“I do think we are part of the public transit system. I’ve always said that. Whenever the subway or streetcar or whatever goes down, we are getting the troops together to head down and help move people,” said Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi,
The pilot will cost about $1.5 million. If approved it will be implemented in the fall and last for at least a year.
kristine Hubbard, operations manager of Beck taxi.