Toronto’s city council is deliberating a proposal to ban gas-burning ride-sharing vehicles, including Uber, Lyft, and taxis, by 2031 as part of its efforts to combat climate change. The proposal aims to ensure that all vehicles for hire in the city are zero-emission by the target date. Stretch limousines and accessible vehicles would be exempt from this requirement, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would be allowed until the end of 2032.
To encourage early adoption of eco-friendly vehicles and support the transition away from fossil fuels, the proposal suggests distributing grants to taxi and limousine companies that comply with the zero-emissions requirement before 2030. Fiona Chapman, the director of business licensing and regulatory services for the City of Toronto, emphasizes the city’s commitment to working with various stakeholders to combat the climate emergency and create a greener, more sustainable future.
According to How-Sen Chong, a climate campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance, transitioning the vehicle-for-hire industry to electric vehicles is crucial to meeting the city’s transportation climate goals. Studies indicate that private transportation companies contribute to about six percent of Toronto’s transportation-related emissions, with a significant portion occurring when vehicles are cruising with no passengers.
However, taxi operators have expressed concerns about the proposed transition. Kristine Hubbard, the operations manager at Beck Taxi Limited, points out the lack of adequate charging infrastructure and the high cost of electric vehicles. The proposed timeline is also deemed unfeasible, as acquiring a sufficient number of electric vehicles within such a short period poses a challenge.
To address these concerns, the city is finalizing a study to enhance EV charging capability, with a specific focus on the advanced needs of the vehicle-for-hire industry. This study will consider the industry’s requirements and make recommendations for supporting the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Furthermore, to meet infrastructure and financial capacity considerations, a more viable plan that takes into account readiness and affordability may be necessary.
Toronto’s proposal aligns with the trend toward net-zero emissions in the transportation sector. Uber and Lyft have already committed to achieving net-zero emissions, with Uber aiming to create a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2030. The federal government has mandated that all newly sold light-duty vehicles be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 to achieve its net-zero emission target by 2050.
– Toronto municipal licensing and standards division report
– Fiona Chapman, Director of Business Licensing and Regulatory Services, City of Toronto
– How-Sen Chong, Climate Campaigner, Toronto Environmental Alliance
– Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager, Beck Taxi Limited