TORONTO — In 2005, Toronto limousine operators scored a major victory when they convinced legislators to end a 19 year-old cap on the issuance of new livery plates. This move opened the market for current operators and new businesses to be able to satisfy the high demand for luxury ground transportation. Now, the victory seems to be short-lived due to a strong lobby from the taxi industry.
According to Craig McCutcheon, president of Rosedale Livery Ltd., the freeze stemmed from a strong push from the taxi industry which claimed that the limousine companies are digging into their lucrative potential business revenues.
“Any vehicle licensed through the airport is issued a GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) plate for their vehicle,” said McCutcheon. “Until now, any operator who had one of these plates could pick up a passenger anywhere. However, the taxi lobby has convinced the government to remove that exemption from the ordinance.”
McCutcheon added that due to this ruling, these operators were forced to apply for a Toronto Livery plate. However, Toronto decided to freeze the issuance of these plates for a period of no less than one year. For the companies that can’t get a Toronto plate, that means they are no longer able to pick up passengers anywhere in the city which severely cripples these companies’ ability to tap into an estimated $80 million market.
“All of these legally licensed Toronto companies are being sandbagged by the city,” he said. “New Town Cars that we ordered nearly a year in advance have arrived and now I have these large investments that can’t be operated.” He added that this situation defeats the meaning of free enterprise.
A final vote on the ordinance is slated for December 11, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. at Toronto City Hall, located at 100 Queen St. West, Toronto. McCutcheon urges all operators to be present to show support for the limousine industry.
SOURCE: Bobit Business Media