23 October 2017

UPS: Coming Full Circle In Toronto?

Some cities, apparently, are starting to realize that they simply can't squeeze any more cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles onto downtown streets than are already creeping through them.

Toronto seems to be the latest such town.  And United Parcel Service might just be realizing that fewer vehicles with internal-combustion engines--including the company's own iconic brown delivery trucks--might be good for business.

The city and the package-delivery service are teaming up in a pilot program involving one delivery bicycle in a heavily-trafficked area.  According to Mayor John Tory (what a name for a politician, eh?), the test vehicle, which carries a large cargo hitch in the rear, won't be allowed in bike lanes.  It will, however, be permitted to use designated off-load zones on some city streets.

Currently, about 400 UPS workers deliver 20 million packages annually on 200 delivery vehicles in "The 416."  What the company learns from the pilot will "determine our strategy going forward" for cargo delivery "on a larger scale in Toronto and potentially to other cities across Canada" says UPS Canada President Christopher Atz.  

His company's officials say that this part of their plan for a more sustainable city.  There is reason to think it will succeed:  It first launched such a program in Hamburg, Germany five years ago.  That city is Europe's second-largest seaport, but like many other European cities, its streets are narrow and some areas--including the upscale shopping district of Neuer Wall--are surrounded by water.  In such areas, therefore, there is no space behind the stores where trucks can make deliveries.

If this project takes hold in North America, it could be said that UPS has, in a way, "come full circle":  It started as a bicycle messenger service in Seattle 110 years ago!

No comments:

Post a Comment