Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Moscoe On The Hudson

Responding to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that New York's cab fleet will be entirely hybrid within 5 years, Toronto councillor Howard Moscoe took the progressive position that Toronto wouldn't be ready for such changes for at least another 10 years. According to Moscoe, the greening of Hogtown's taxi fleet "doesn't fit the economics of the taxi industry in Toronto". He points to the fact that a new Toyota Prius Hybrid costs about $40,000, while a 2 year old gas guzzler can be put on the street for a mere $15,000. Gail Beck Souter, general manager of Beck Taxi, chimes in, bemoaning that in the economically-challenged Toronto cab industry, there are already too many cabs chasing too few customers. How exactly this supply side excess is addressed by continuing to license cheap, fuel-inefficient taxis is anyone's guess. Maybe they'll figure that out in 10 years as well.
By way of contrast, the BC government has taken steps to ensure that taxi fleets in Vancouver and Victoria become more environmentally friendly.
The province has asked the province's Passenger Transportation Board to approve taxi licences for only hybrid or other highly fuel-efficient cars, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said Monday. He also wants the 100 existing applications before the board to only be approved if they're for the greener vehicles.
So, while Vancouver and NYC make the move towards hybrid taxis, Toronto trudges along with its armada of Ford Crown Vics. Dean del Mastro would be proud.


knb said...

Howard, Howard, Howard... sigh.

You have to live here to really appreciate the guy. By that I mean, to really exprience the depth of his ability to convolute every situation he delves into.

I can't say for sure, because things are tense right now for cabbies, but I imagine Miller will push for a greener outlook.

Red Canuck said...

knb - I grew up in the GTA, so I still try to stay abreast of Ontario affairs. I'm certainly sensitive to the fact that cabbies have a tough time financially. But instituting a 'green cab' policy for all future applicants would be positive step and wouldn't burden existing cab drivers. Anyways, there are always possibilities. I find defeatist attitudes like Moscoe's a bit disheartening, especially in light of what is being done in other jurisdictions.

knb said...

You're absolutely right. He's not so much of a defeatist to me, just a pacifier...which we know goes nowhere.

He really is an odd duck isn't he?

When were you here, when did you leave?

Red Canuck said...

knb - grew up in your neck of the woods...Oakville, to be precise. Moved to the Left Coast 3 years ago, and really enjoying living in Vancouver.

Red Tory said...

I’ve noticed a lot more Prius cabs on the road here in Victoria lately. I wasn’t aware of the move by the government in this regard, but I guess that would help explain it, although I think a lot of the cabbies are making the investment anyway for the long-term fuel savings. Not all that surprising considering we have the highest fuel prices in Canada!