The May Dispatch
This month we explore what the quarantine means for our roadways, what life after COVID might look like, and more.
Welcome back to the Dispatch, Onlia’s monthly dive into the intersection of transportation, tech, and everything else you need to know! This month we get back into the driver’s seat, with content from the roads, even as we all stay home to #flattenthecurve.
COVID-19 has thrown governments for a loop as they manage fast-paced changes. With social distancing compliance a top priority for preventing the virus spread, Toronto has introduced CurbTO, a measure to provide more room for pedestrians as they move through the city, or line up to shop for essential services.
The new initiative will block off curb lanes in Toronto’s downtown hot spots and pinch points. Drivers, watch out for lane changes and drive accordingly, as the city is projected to roll out a total of 100 of these modifications.
Ontario is still under a provincial state of emergency, and to ensure essential goods are still delivered, truckers have relaxed restrictions on delivery hours. This means you may see or hear deliveries at off-hours, all in the name of getting the goods to the people that need them.
Have a driver’s licence or plates that need renewal? In the interest of staying home, the provincial government is offering an extension on renewals. Opt to check out Service Ontario online, rather than visiting in person (unless absolutely necessary). If you have a driving test on the calendar, note that all testing centre locations are closed until further notice. Current licences will not expire, and missed test fees won’t apply. You’ll still have to prep for test day, though — the province plans to restart services as the COVID-19 situation improves.
Live outside of Ontario? Check with your local government to see what service adjustments are available.
We are all untangling what COVID-19 means for the world, and our transportation insider took a deep look at what it means for transportation. With people working from home, and congestion becoming a distant memory, the way we move is completely different. We cover the positives and the negatives, while also looking at what the future could look like. Spoiler alert: we’re still waiting for the dust to settle, but there are some interesting post-pandemic opportunities.
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Pivoting isn’t just a concept, but an essential COVID-19 business strategy — when people don’t move, the transportation industry gets antsy. Uber and its ridesharing counterparts are staying top of mind with expanded food and goods delivery, as well as offering free rides to frontline workers. As rideshare politics evolve in cities, this may earn these businesses some brownie points.
Some elements of the pandemic feel straight out of a movie. A drive-in movie, perhaps? Experiencing a COVID-19 related resurgence, drive-in theatres are offering a self-isolated option for some communities. Germany, South Korea, and the U.S. have all hosted pandemic-friendly movie nights, with some Canadian locations still assessing their options. As the weather warms up, check your local listings — it may be a viable option for date night. Where you actually get out of your house… but stay in your car. Small wins.
We have covered rogue stunts with cars, right? Apparently some people missed class that day. Yonge and Dundas were grounds for the latest Fast and Furious stunt, featuring donuts in the intersection. The burnout (and subsequent police chase) was captured online, leading to the arrest of the 21-year-old driver.
Social distancing has more people working from home, and with that, more speedsters taking advantage of free and clear roadways. If you feel the need for speed, stay home and watch a movie!