Uber is making waves in Canada: the startup is expanding its services in Toronto by launching UberHOP, a $5 flat-fare service that connects some of the city’s busiest neighbourhoods to the downtown business district.
Mayor John Tory stepped out today and spoke in defence of Uber (well, sort of), saying the city’s lawyers are gathering evidence about Uber, but so far, they say it would be impractical for Toronto to shut down the service (via Citynews).
The mayor emphasized that Uber has more than 300,000 users and 15,000 drivers in Toronto, and so far, it is another convenient and affordable option for consumers and “a marketplace response to a reality.”
Uber and ride-sharing companies are backed by several Metro Vancouver municipalities. Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Langley Township councils voted to ask the provincial government to relax the rules forbidding cities from allowing ride-sharing.
The official letter hasn’t been sent out yet, but when interviewed by the Vancouver Sun, Sonia Lowe, a public affairs officer for the ministry, pointed to the Passenger Transportation Act, which requires a licence from every owner of a vehicle who collects payment for transporting passengers.
So some areas are waiting for Uber to enter the market, but so far, the technology company has not applied to operate in B.C.
Last year, Uber revealed at the time Vancouver was the only city it was forced to pull out of. Uber’s black-car service was in Vancouver for nearly six months in 2012, but the BC transportation regulator imposed a minimum $75 fare per trip, causing the service to withdraw.
When UberX was rumoured to launch in the city last November, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said undercover transit agents were ready to enforce ride-sharing like services.
This March, a lawsuit filed against Uber by the Vancouver Taxi Association was dropped, but the latter–which represents Black Top & Checker Cabs, Yellow Cabs, MacLure’s Cabs and Vancouver Taxi–said it would refile the suit should Uber does try to return.
Want to help bring Uber to Vancouver? Join the Bring Uber to Vancouver Facebook Group here.