Food couriers in Toronto want cops to stop giving them so many parking tickets
Food delivery folks have always been an important part of the fabric that makes up downtown Toronto, but never before the pandemic have they been so essential for restaurants and customers.
Whether travelling by car, bike or foot, these people go to great lengths to make sure condo-dwellers get their sushi and roti and biryani in short order. If that means facing extreme weather conditions, dangerous roads, snippy store managers, shady customers or even the deadly coronavirus, so be it — they do their jobs and they don't complain.
Drivers are, however, taking up issue with one particular challenge that they've been facing more often since the pandemic hit: That of getting parking tickets every time they stop to pick up or drop off food downtown.
"I personally have gotten about $500 in parking tickets last year," said Toronto driver Taryn Ellis of the problem to blogTO. "I have talked to a few friends who have received tickets as recently as last week."
Ellis, who has been working as a food courier in the city for two years and drives for two different delivery companies, recently started a petition calling upon the City of Toronto and Toronto Police to better support workers in her industry by giving them a grace period.
"Delivery couriers have been the lifeline of this city during the pandemic and many of us have had to deal with getting parking tickets from parking enforcement when trying to make a delivery to a customer." Drivers & supporters - sign the petition here: https://t.co/0K13oPwwzF— Gig Workers United (@GigWorkersUnite) March 4, 2021
"Delivery couriers have been the lifeline of this city during the pandemic and many of us have had to deal with getting parking tickets from parking enforcement when trying to make a delivery to a customer," reads the petition.
"There should be a grace period for couriers and delivery people that are signed (actual signs in our vehicle) as such so that more time can be spent getting people their necessities so they do not have to go out. Less time equals more people served."
Ellis reccomends that the City of Toronto adopt the City of Ottawa's model, where independent couriers can pay $130 per year for "small business parking permits" that protect them from eager parking enforcement officers.
The petition, directed to Toronto Mayor John Tory James Ramer, interim chief of police for Toronto, has garnered nearly 500 signatures since it was created last month.
"I realized it's a huge problem with us, I mean we could be gone 2 mins and we would already have a parking ticket on our car," said Ellis to blogTO. "It honestly depends on the parking officer and their mood that day. Some are sympathetic, but most are not."
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