Uber slashes its plans for Toronto expansion after city limits licenses

Following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences, Uber is warning drivers and riders of higher prices and longer wait times. The city of Toronto has decided to freeze new ridesharing licences to attempt to…

Uber slashes its plans for Toronto expansion after city limits licenses

Following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences, Uber is warning drivers and riders of higher prices and longer wait times.

The city of Toronto has decided to freeze new ridesharing licences to attempt to regulate ride services before Uber files for their first licence.

“Since Uber is considering launching in Toronto before city regulations have been prepared, we are imposing a temporary cap on new licenses to deter over-capacity and to encourage greater communication, oversight and regulatory certainty,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who backed the controversial move.

Uber Canada said the move would cause Toronto to lose tax dollars and put drivers out of work.

“The situation is not only already hurting our local drivers, but the livelihoods of hundreds of businesses who depend on the billions of dollars in tax revenues and TTC revenue provided to Toronto by the ridesharing industry,” the ride-sharing company said in a release.

“At the moment, drivers can’t profit from the booming transit market, while riders are waiting for rides on shorter trips. Those trips can easily take two to three times longer, which causes severe impact on our riders and the city.”

Drivers ‘going out of business’

Adding insult to injury, the company noted that it’s now “forcing” its drivers to pay the city more in licensing fees.

“The impact could end up affecting hundreds of drivers—many of whom won’t be able to keep working in the long term because they’re no longer earning a fair return on their time and energy and they’re going out of business,” said Alexander Soules, Uber’s head of policy in Canada.

Drivers will have to pay $44,970 to renew their existing licences or face a $1,450 fee to try to get a new one. The decision comes after Uber claimed that some of its drivers were earning more than $100,000 a year and that some drivers were turning down well-paying brick-and-mortar jobs.

Uber Canada said the legislation could discourage the company from working with municipalities to design long-term transportation solutions in Toronto and would reduce the number of new drivers that could take to the roads.

The company is studying the impact of the decision before making a decision about its expansion into the Canadian city in 2019.

“We remain convinced that ride-sharing is the best solution for giving more Canadians access to safe, affordable transit while lowering congestion and pollution,” Uber said.

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