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workers Submission to the City of Toronto 2012

workers Submission to the City of Toronto 2012

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11. Increase the number of taxi stands in the city, including establishing a taxi stand at
each subway station. The City should work in partnership with frontline taxi drivers
to conduct an annual review of taxi stand issues in Toronto.

BACKGROUND

The iTaxiworkers submit that there are not sufficient taxi stands in the city and that more
taxi stands would benefit both drivers and customers.

As per By-law 545-147 (D), taxi drivers are not permitted to park on any road while waiting
for a fare. This is only permitted at designated taxi stands. There are strict rules around
overcrowding of taxi stands, and each stand is marked with how many taxis it permits.
There are currently only 146 designated taxi stands in the city that can accommodate a
total of 452 taxis.

With over 4,700 licensed taxis on the road and 10,000 licensed drivers in Toronto, it is
clear that there is an inadequate supply of taxi stands in the city. This negatively impacts
taxi drivers, their customers, and the public.

As taxi drivers are not permitted to wait anywhere other than taxi stands for fares, when
the stands are at capacity, drivers are forced to continually cruise for a fare.

For drivers, such fare-less driving is incredibly expensive, as it costs them in both gas and
vehicle wear-and-tear. This places additional strain on their already stretched earnings.
As gas prices rise, the true cost of this inadequate supply of taxi stands increasingly
impacts drivers, as fares remain the same, forcing driver’s incomes even lower. In
addition, taxi stands are an important place for drivers’ physical well-being. The long
hours in a sitting position, combined with the twists and turns of interacting with
customers places serious strain on drivers’ bodies. Taxi stands allow drivers a place to get

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out of their cabs and stretch, use nearby washroom facilities, and safely make phone calls
without breaking any by-laws.

For the public, the inadequate supply of taxi stands negatively impacts the quality of life
for Torontonians. First, there is the environmental impact of having thousands of cars
constantly driving that are not serving any immediate purpose. These cars needlessly
spew significant amounts of pollution into Toronto’s air. They also add to the growing
gridlock problem in the City which was recently found to have the country’s longest
commute.17

Taxi drivers seek out the busiest areas of the city, as that is where fares are
most readily available. Forcing them to continually drive around these areas without fares
only contributes to the growing traffic congestion downtown.

In other jurisdictions, municipal governments have addressed the taxi stand issue by
implementing initiatives such as the “Late Night Taxi Stand”. For example, the City of
Calgary has launched a program whereby several parking spaces are reserved for taxis
outside popular restaurants, bars and nightclubs during the peak late night hours – 10pm
to 3am - on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This is in an effort to reduce drinking and
driving and to stop inebriated individuals from running into the street to hail a taxi. This
program decreases aimless driving, improves customer access to taxis, provides a safe
place for taxi drivers to pick-up and drop-off passengers and has improved public safety.
Several other cities are establishing similar programs, including Victoria, British Columbia
and Seattle, Washington. In Victoria, the City has enhanced the program by providing
police officers to periodically “supervise” the taxi stand areas to ensure the safety of taxi
drivers and the public.

Another way to increase the number of taxi stands is to use spaces that have already been
designated for other vehicles. Fire lanes could provide spaces where drivers could park
throughout the day as long as they remained subject to the needs of the police and fire
department.

17

Statistics Canada, “Commuting to work: Results of the 2010 General Social Survey,” Canadian Social
Trends, August 24, 2011, no. 11-008-X.

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RECOMMENDATION

Toronto taxi drivers know which areas are lacking taxi stands, and which taxi stands are in
the greatest need of expansion. Drivers also know better than anyone where the most
non-stand pickups occur.

The iTaxiworkers propose that the City increase the number of taxi stands, including the
establishment of taxi stands at each subway station and additional taxi stands within the
borders of the old City of Toronto. Additionally, it is necessary for the City to work in
partnership with frontline taxi drivers in an annual review of taxi stands and proactively
engage drivers when the installation, relocation or removal of taxi stands is under
investigation.

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iTAXIWORKERS’ PROPOSAL

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