Should taxis be treated as pub­lic tran­sit on King Street?

Tory asks staff to ex­empt taxis from King turn re­stric­tions

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

TORSTAR NEWS SER­VICE

kris­tine Hub­bard, op­er­a­tions man­ager of Beck taxi.

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