Last May, Uber announced it would apply for a taxi brokerage license in Toronto, and this morning the company was granted one (at the cost of $402.78), reports The Star.
This means Uber’s taxi operations in the city are now along the lines of cab companies like Beck–which opposes them. The license, however, does not cover UberX, the most controversial ‘ride-sharing’ service, which allows drivers to shuttle passengers in their own private vehicles, at much cheaper rates than traditional taxis.
“This is another step towards our participation in a comprehensive regulatory solution that includes ride-sharing,” Heath said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the City of Toronto towards new regulations for ride-sharing, which are expected in the coming months.”
After the city took Uber to court last year to shut it down, a judge ruled in favour of the company, noting it had not broken any rules. City council ended up revising bylaws to regulate Uber and other ridesharing companies, but for UberX, regulations are still ongoing.
Last year, taxi drivers in the city launched a lawsuit against Uber, seeking $400 million in damages, alleging UberX has “created an enormous marketplace for illegal transportation in Toronto.”
The acquisition of a Toronto taxi brokerage license by Uber can be seen as a PR victory for the company, as now it can claim some of its operations are just like regular taxi companies in the city.
Uber continues its guerrilla tactics to enter more markets across Canada. Yesterday in B.C., the province’s Transportation Minister rejected the company’s request to revise licensing regulations. Todd Stone said “The regulatory framework is there,” adding “Uber and companies like it need to continue to sit down and talk through their wishes and desires.”
In Edmonton, the city is expected to setup a fee structure for ride-sharing companies like Uber. The company said “We are cautiously optimistic that Edmonton could become the first Canadian city to approve a workable regulatory framework for ride-sharing.”