Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences. Drivers are now left with too few seats at pick-up and drop-off locations, and a new cost for the company as it attempts to match prices of other cab services.
The taxi industry has been struggling for years to deal with a glut of supply, especially in downtown Toronto, and the city’s decision to regulate taxis this spring has been credited with bringing supply to a halt.
On Wednesday, Toronto City Council voted to impose a freeze on new licences, despite calls from the taxi industry to impose a cap on new service licences.
Drivers have accused the city and Uber of “cherry-picking” a few low-rated Uber vehicles, while ignoring the safety concerns of the whole industry.
“The people who want to drive for Uber are getting the same kind of treatment as the people who use the streetcars to get around,” said Sarah-Joyce Riddell, with Toronto Public Health. “The public is losing out in this.”
Riddell said the impact of the new taxi regulations, which the city hopes to finalize with the provincial government next year, will be dramatic, as the number of people using taxi services will drop dramatically.
“I’m really starting to question whether this is the right way to regulate taxis in Toronto,” said Riddell, who is also medical officer of health for Toronto’s east end.