TORONTO, ON – Toronto-area truckers plan to invite the city’s anti-gridlock campaign mayor to ride along with them as they deliver downtown.
“It would be an education for him, I’m sure,” says Apps Transport Group driver Guy Broderick who ignited a Twitter debate on the subject earlier today. “I’ve never called a mayor before, but I’m happy to invite him so he can see what trucks face when they go downtown.”
Toronto’s new mayor John Tory recently unleashed city police to tag and tow vehicles that park even briefly in no-stopping zones… and trucks have been caught in the anti-gridlock net, even though they have few alternatives if they’re going to service their customers.
“I understand what Mr. Tory is trying to do. I get it,” says Broderick. “But what he doesn’t seem to understand is that it is not the trucking companies that want to go disrupt traffic downtown during the day, it is their customers who request it and need those deliveries to do business.”
Margaret Hogg, general manager of Drapeau Transport in the city’s north west neighborhood of Rexdale, said she too is willing to put the mayor in one of her trucks and let him see first hand how difficult it can be to deliver goods in the downtown core.
“I don’t know how he is as a person, if he’s even open to the idea,” she said. “But I’d do it if I were in his shoes.”
Drapeau Transport has more experience of urban delivery challenges in the city of Buffalo, N.Y., she said, but the company also has straight trucks that go downtown Toronto when necessary.
The biggest challenge, she points out, is that the core was not designed and built with deliveries in mind.
She admits to being a Twitter addict and she was happy to get involved in the discussion there.
“There needs to be some compromise for trucks making deliveries,” she said.
Broderick says an Apps driver delivering on Toronto’s busy main-drag of Yonge Street, across from the Eaton Centre, was confronted by no less than three police cruisers today, and was repeatedly told to move along even though the receiver had permits allowing daytime deliveries there. A police supervisor finally showed up and verified that the truck was doing nothing wrong.
“Delivering skids of product is not like dropping off a couple of small packages. It takes longer and you need a safe place to unload,” says Broderick. “A small courier truck has some options, but big trucks don’t.”
Bringing the mayor along might give him a new perspective on the problem, he adds.
“I’ve spoken with Rob McDonald (the president of Brampton, Ont.-based Apps Transport Group) and he’s all for it. If Mr. Tory is willing to ride along, we’ll make it happen.”
According to police, 76 vehicles were towed on Monday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. During those seven hours, 592 parking tags were also issued and 37 provincial offence notices were handed out.