Denzil Minnan-Wong, darling of the taxi industry, wants to force all cab companies to use the same car
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong may be one of Rob Ford’s staunchest allies on council, but let it never be said that he isn’t open minded. As if he wasn’t unpopular enough with Toronto cabbies—you might recall how a posse of them chased him down a city hall corridor when the city met with taxi drivers a month ago—he’s now proposing something we suspect will be just a touch controversial: adopting a uniform cab design for the entire city, possibly modelled after a similar proposal in New York City.
According to the Globe and Mail:
Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a 10-year contract with Nissan to build its NV200 concept cab, designed specifically for the Big Apple.
The NV200 won out over submissions from Ford and Karsan, a Turkish company, and features passenger airbags, independent climate controls, filtered interior air, USB ports, high fuel efficiency and a transparent roof. It can also be adapted to hybrid or full electric propulsion.
“I don’t have any preconceived notion of what it should look like,” said Mr. Minnan-Wong of the Toronto cab.
Discussing the matter in council yesterday, the spectre of the disastrous Toronto a la Cart program—the last time the city tried to force a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment on unwilling businesses—hung over the debate and was mentioned early in the proceedings. It might be a bit soon for that kind of panic, but Minnan-Wong knows as well as anyone that the city is capable of finding any number of creative ways to ham up a simple plan.
That said, the proposal does have some things going for it. If nothing else, the New York cabs seem pretty cool, but we can see a slew of political hurdles that need to be navigated first. The biggest and most obvious: cab companies likely don’t want to buy an entire new fleets of cars if the ones they’re currently using are running just fine. Also, it’s not exactly a small-government solution, so there may be some push-back from the mayor’s office (especially if the phone starts ringing). We’ll be waiting and watching to see what city staff recommends in September.
• Calls for a Toronto-style cab [Toronto Sun]
• Councillor calls for uniform cabs on Toronto streets [Globe and Mail]
• Councillor wants an exclusive taxicab in Toronto [City News]
8 thoughts on “Denzil Minnan-Wong, darling of the taxi industry, wants to force all cab companies to use the same car”
This would not be done overnight and new vehicles would be phased in as old vehicles reached the end of their life span.
I think this would be of greatr benifit for the city. With one major consideration. That the new vehicles incorperate the inclusion of acessibility for everyone. The the wheel-trans system is fully functional and available to more.
Lots of major cities do this. Helps consumers, out-of-towners and branding the city. How is this a bad thing? Do people really find the state of our city’s taxis such that standardization would reduce their quality? Provided contracts are transparent and the industry has a say in what they are required to use, this seems like win-win for everyone.
I actually think this has some sense to it. If it makes it easier to recognize (and therefore) hail a cab, it could benefit the drivers. Also, a unified cab is part of the city identity. What says NYC more than a yellow cab… A unified colour should be enough though. Not s standard vehicle.
What about the businesses who have invested in branding in the taxi industry? Unlike in New York, Toronto riders call for taxi service. Six million calls were processed by one company alone in Toronto in 2010. People know a taxi is a taxi because of the roof light on top of the car. We have choice in our City. If Toronto is “open for business”, this sounds more like Communism. Next they will be making Tim Hortons and Starbucks remove their branding…if a cab is a cab then a coffee is a coffee. Scary.
This was an issue years ago. The police advised not to go with single colour for safety reasons. Just two weeks ago, a break & enter occurred in Scarborough. It was reported that two males got into an orange & green cab. The police quickly called Beck Taxi, we identified the car through GPS. Fast action resulted an arrest. Under the Councillors initiative with all uniform, same colour cabs the result would have been quite different. The call would be “i’ve been robbed & they got away in a yellow van”….where would the police even begin to look?
I think this would be of greater benifit for the city.Toronto Airport Taxi
I think you make a good point Gail, this would make it a great deal easier to steal or break-in to a cab and get away with it because the cops wouldn’t even know where to begin. I think if they’re gonna change anything they should make all cabbies wear uniforms should require a certain level of professionalism. What happened to the good old days when a taxi company was renowned for customer service and professionalism. That’s why I use able taxi (http://www.abletaxi.ca/) all the time… for those reasons.
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