You might label Uber as “outside the law”, but in reality the ride-sharing firm simply says that “bylaw . . . doesn’t really apply to the them”. The difference is in the perspective from which you look at Uber’s Toronto operations. The firm chose a rather interesting business scenario here: to break the law and ignite customer demand to help the company push for regulations that would make its operations legal (via the Globe and Mail).
Actually, the tactic used so far has worked out well: There are a million Uber users in Toronto alone, and it has thus become “an integral part of the transportation network now,” Ian Black, Uber Canada’s general manager said.
After months of back and forth, new regulations are being drafted by Toronto city staff which are expected to be unveiled officially next month. Uber is hoping for two things: (1) the new regulations will legalize its operations in Toronto; and (2) if the regulations are favourable, they will serve as a model for other Canadian cities.
Uber’s current tactic of being above the law will come to an end when the new regulations will take effect. The firm says it will comply with them as soon as they are put in place.
Black hopes the upcoming regulations will be closer to those in Edmonton, where the firm is allowed to operate.
“We’re in the midst of a shift in how people use transportation and the types of transportation they use,” he argued. “Toronto introducing regulations that would potentially disallow the ride-sharing model would really be a step backwards from a public-transportation point of view.”
In a video posted on Uber’s official YouTube channel, Black invites all Uber users to speak up and say how ride-sharing is making Toronto “a better place.” Those supporting Uber can visit www.supportUberTO.com, where they are invited to sign the petition, send a tweet or email, or call a city councillor to “ask them to support smart ridesharing regulations.”