Toronto and Purolator piloting mini-hubs for parcel shipping

by Emily Atkins

Toronto residents will soon be seeing blue shipping containers splashed with Purolator’s logo in Green P parking lots. The containers are mini retail outlets where residents can ship or receive parcels.

The two Urban Quick Stop mini hubs in Toronto will operate full retail services and a total of five electric cargo bikes to deliver packages to the surrounding areas. The program is expected to help reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions by 68 tonnes per year.

Purolator, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Parking Authority launch the Urban Quick Stop pilot program.

This program is a result of the City of Toronto’s Council-approved Freight and Goods Movement Strategy, which aims to make the transportation of freight and goods safer, more reliable and more sustainable.

Now open

On Monday Toronto mayor John Tory joined councillor Mike Layton, Purolator president and CEO, John Ferguson, Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) president, Scott Collier, and the City of Toronto’s transportation services general manager, Barbara Gray, to launch the first unit in the Green P parking lot at 19 Spadina Road (north of Bloor Street West). It is built in a 40-foot shipping container.

The e-bikes replace fossil fuel-consuming courier trucks with a fully electric option, and contribute to the City of Toronto’s TransformTO greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reduction goals.

“Purolator’s Urban Quick Stop is our innovative approach to solving the many challenges of delivering in a busy urban environment like Toronto,” said Ferguson.

“Our ambition is to be the greenest courier company in Canada, and this puts us one step closer to achieving that goal. This solution helps minimize traffic congestion and CO2 emissions using e-bikes in a location that brings package delivery and pickup closer to the customer.”

U of T campus

In September, the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services division, Purolator and the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute (UTTRI) will launch a second mini hub that will replace Purolator delivery trucks on the St. George campus with e-bikes deployed from an on-street container located near 60 St. George Street. This will mark the first time on-street parking in Toronto has been replaced with this type of use. UTTRI will conduct an extensive analysis of the impact of replacing large vehicles on campus, using data provided by Purolator around GHG emissions reduction, operational efficiency, parking experiences and interactions with pedestrians.

The City’s Freight and Goods Movement Strategy is aimed at right-sizing delivery across Toronto. Led by the Transportation Services division in partnership with other City divisions it aims to increase the efficiency and reliability of freight movement, limit harm to the environment by reducing GHG emissions, reduce effects on the busiest neighbourhoods, and improve safety for people using roads across the city.

“With e-commerce sales anticipated to continue growing at double-digit rates, new delivery models that optimize last-mile delivery must be explored and developed,” Gray said.

“This pilot program will advance the objectives identified in the City’s Freight and Goods Movement Strategy, and the insights gained from the evaluation work of the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute will inform how we can make delivery in Toronto greener, safer and more sustainable.”