Toronto Taxi uniform design

Councillor wants uniform design for Toronto taxicabs

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong wants to get rid of the city's colourful mix of taxicabs. Impressed with the Taxi of Tomorrow initiative adopted by New York City, he hopes to commission a report on how Toronto might do something similar. "I want to look at the idea of having a purpose-built taxi for the City of Toronto," he said.

According to the Globe and Mail, Minnan-Wong worries that the variety of cars that currently compose our fleet doesn't necessarily make a good impression of tourists and newcomers. "We could thus "piggy-back on New York City," he said. "Or we could look at our own made in Toronto solution."

Here's hoping for the latter. There are many reasons to pursue this idea. Not only would a new, regulated fleet be more environmentally friendly, but other advantages like increased accessibility, increased passenger space and even USB ports might be part of the package. But, it's not as if the New York plan has gone off without a hitch. Of the three design finalists — the Ford Transit Connect, Karsan V1, and Nissan NV200 — the vehicle with the least public support won the competition. Dubbed the "soccer mom's cab," the Nissan NV200 has failed to capture the city's imagination with its boxy design.

And then there's the matter of colour. Even if the design of the cab is made uniform, I'm not a fan of the single colour-schemes one currently finds in New York and London. Toronto's often accused of parroting New York, and the adoption of yellow cabs would certainly vindicate anyone who's made that accusation. London's black cabs, meanwhile, are just boring (even if at times elegant looking). While our colourful cabs may not be unique, they're certainly iconic, and this is one bit of history, no matter how tacky, that I'd like to preserve.

Minnan-Wong will bring his proposal to Toronto's Muncipal Licensing Committee tomorrow.

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Photo by Bryson Gilbert in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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