Startup wants to operate a golf cart version of Uber for the Toronto Islands
Someone is attempting to offer a solution for point-to-point travel on the city's island destination, a recent lobbying file revealing an unsolicited pitch that would create a service similar to Uber, with golf carts in place of cars.
The proposal to City of Toronto Parks and Business Licensing seeks a special designation and permits "to use multi-passenger golf cart vehicles as vehicle-for-hire shuttles for people within City of Toronto parks."
The brainchild of Christopher Lafleche, a startup called GOATRAIN (which might be just a tad confusing for regional rail commuters) hopes to operate a shuttle service "on the Toronto Island offering an all-electric transportation solution for visitors."
Lafleche tells blogTO that the plan is to use electric-powered elongated golf carts, similar to ones used at outdoor wedding venues, saying, "they hold about eight passengers in the front and we have a trailer on the back that would hold another seven."
Motorized transportation might not sit well with islanders, who are proud to call their little slice of paradise the largest urban car-free community in North America.
As of 2022, the only practical ways to get around the islands without walking are via the (very limited) Toronto Island Tram Tour or to rent a bicycle, but even the large multi-person and passenger bikes available to island visitors can be a challenge for families with small children, the elderly, or those with mobility issues.
It's an issue Lafleche wants to solve, saying, "we're looking at working with one of the golf cart companies in the city to try and get wheelchair-accessible ones as well to add that to the island."
The lobbying file was only applied for in late April and approved in mid-May, with no meetings yet held between Lafleche and city officials, so it's unlikely you'll see golf carts whizzing by on a trip to the islands this summer.
Lafleche has high hopes for the road ahead, however, stating that "if everything goes as planned, we're going to be reaching out to a couple of local charities and trying to see if we could run our initial pilot, just to see if there's actual interest in making it as a charity fundraiser."
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