Glowing profile of Tracey Cook in Toronto Star leaves industry observers shaking their heads
by Mike Beggs
The protracted wait for executive director Tracey Cook’s overdue review of the new Vehicle-For-Hire bylaw appears to be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards’ response times on taxi-related items.
On October 27, Councillor Cesar Palacio, chair of the Licensing and Standards Committee appeared at the City’s Committee Of Adjustment to speak to this issue. MORE
L&S directs MLS staff to provide update on progress of taxi file
by Mike Beggs
It appears even Toronto councillors are getting tired of Municipal Licensing and Standards’ tardiness in responding to requests.
On October 20, the City’s Licensing and Standards Committee passed a motion from Ward 39 Councillor Jim Karygiannis requesting that MLS executive director Tracey Cook report back to the committee in the second quarter of 2018 on the consideration of mandating security cameras in all Private Transportation Company (PTC) vehicles, and provide an update on the status of all other outstanding directives. MORE
Industry fumes over deteriorating state of taxi business while City turns its back
by Mike Beggs
So, is there any sign of Tracey Cook’s report on the horizon?
“None. It doesn’t exist,” says Beck Taxi operations manager Kristine Hubbard, citing informed conjecture from around city hall.
This was subsequently confirmed in a Toronto Star story in mid-October, where Cook said her one-year review of the new Vehicle-For-Hire bylaw has taken a back seat to more pressing issues like Air B’nB, pot shops, and short term rentals, and won’t be released any time soon. MORE
Busy times at MLS
Unfortunately, taxis don’t appear to be playing much of a role on that busy agenda. To the surprise of many, a recent report from the City’s Auditor General on Municipal Licensing and Standards operations makes no mention of the chaotic state of the City’s vehicle-for-hire industry. In fact, nothing in the AG report deals directly with taxi issues. Not that the glaring omission met with any outcry at city hall. It’s almost like the taxi industry’s problems have all gone away…
This month’s Cover Cab is accessible operator Yohannes Mesgan. According to Mesgan, he has invested $180,000 in the purchase of his van, it’s conversion (which was $17,000 USD), and his taxi plate. Now he fears this investment will never be recouped. He says there isn’t enough accessible business to support his substantial operating expenses and the City has done nothing to try and secure a market or create a viable business environment for accessible taxi operators.