Vancouver needs more accessible and enviro-friendly taxis, Mayor says

Mayor Sam Sullivan is calling upon Council to support an initiative from Councillor Suzanne Anton that aims to put significantly more taxis on the road in Vancouver, as well as improve the sustainability and accessibility of the taxi fleet in the City.

In order to have a significant number of new taxi permits in place by the 2007 tourist season, Councillor Anton is asking City staff and the Vancouver Taxi Roundtable to begin immediately working on recommendations for:

  • Issuing new permits in 2007, as well as recommendations on additional permits from 2008 through 2010, in order to address the current shortage of taxis in Vancouver;
  • Improving the process for issuing the permits, including fees;
  • Increasing the accessibility of the taxi fleet for persons with disabilities, for the new permits issued in 2007 and over the long term; and,
  • Achieving compatibility of the taxi fleet with the goals of the City’s Community Climate Change action plan.

“We have heard from visitors, residents, the business community and taxi operators that we simply do not have enough taxis to serve the needs of our growing City,” said Mayor Sullivan. “This initiative from Councillor Anton will ensure that we are well prepared to add more cars to the taxi fleet in time for the busy spring and summer tourist season.”

The Passenger Transportation Board and the City of Vancouver have authorized 477 taxis to operate in the city — including 59 wheelchair-accessible vehicles — which works out to about one taxi for every 1,258 people in the city. In Toronto, 4,961 cabs serve a population of 2.7 million — roughly one taxi for every 540 people.

“In addition to putting more taxis in service, we must ensure that we are achieving our overall objectives around sustainability and accessibility,” said Councillor Anton. “That’s why I am asking staff to report back on ways to introduce more wheelchair-accessible cabs as well as additional hybrid and energy efficient vehicles to the taxi fleet.”

Tourism Vancouver CEO Rick Antonson applauded the initiative: “Prompt and professional taxi service is fundamental to Vancouver’s reputation as a great city, and we need changes,” Antonson said. “Councillor Anton’s timely approach will be matched by the taxi companies’ commitment to improved driver training through the TaxiHost program and reducing wait times. The winners will be Vancouver’s residents and visitors.”

Councillor Anton’s motion is on the agenda for the November 14 Council meeting. A copy of the motion is available on the City website at: cclerk/20061114/documents/motionb3.pdf