Green is Good: Do drive-thrus need a 'Timmy Tax'?
The article describes a report advising that to raise $1 billion to $2 billion annually for transit improvements, new streams of revenue (like a regional gas tax, commercial parking tax levies, a regional sales tax, or charging drivers to enter the Toronto downtown core) are being looked at.
Now look, I’m no transportation expert. And all of those ideas may be needed. But there’s one obvious area of revenue that seems to have been overlooked: the ubiquitous drive-thru.
For the past few years, environmentalists have been trying to either ban or limit the development of drive-thrus. Municipalities in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia have proposed banning new drive-thrus, mainly because of the air-quality issues caused by millions of idling cars, but also the issue of traffic congestion caused by the long lineups of caffeine addicts.
But let’s stop pretending. In the real world, a complete drive-thru ban is impossible. And you can’t get rid of the existing ones.
However, using a drive-thru is all about convenience. So, like having someone pump your gas for you, or wash your car, let’s add a service charge or a premium to each drive-thru order: We’ll call it the Timmy Tax.
Think about this: a 50-cent surcharge to every drive-thru order, whether it’s a coffee shop, bank or dry cleaner. And the revenue (50 cents times millions of users every day — you do the math!) would go toward all those transportation improvements the province so desperately needs.
To me, it’s a win-win situation.
If you don’t want to pay the Timmy Tax, simply park your car and walk into the shop.
Or if you still want to use the drive-thru, your money will go toward improving how we all get around.
Let me know: Is a 50-cent Timmy Tax enough to get you out of your car when you need your double-double?
Or do you think that no matter how much the premium is, our addiction to convenience won’t get us out of the drive-thru lineups?