× Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences
Uber has warned that its users and drivers in Toronto could face higher costs after city officials said they were putting a hold on new taxi licences.
Toronto’s taxi crisis has caused massive logistical difficulties in the city over the past few months, with high rates of congestion caused by unlicensed taxis. Toronto’s ultra-luxury taxi firm Uber Black provides drivers with high-speed, top-of-the-line vehicles, often used by celebrities.
On Monday, the city’s taxi regulator said it would not issue any new licenses until it completed a study into the “calibration” of the taxi market. This decision, Uber said in a statement on Monday, would result in “a spike in fares and longer wait times for riders,” arguing that ridesharing services “offer faster and cheaper rides that do not pose the same congestion threat to our city.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory attempted to ease the gridlock caused by the city’s ultra-luxury taxis, which offered prices that outstripped regular cabs by “hundreds of dollars” on average, in June. He ordered city officials to study whether these luxury taxis posed a new risk to the city’s transportation system.
After the cab crisis emerged earlier this year, Uber “began experiencing a serious strain on our infrastructure and business operations in the City of Toronto”, Uber Canada president and co-founder Dan Kho wrote in a post on Monday.
“These higher fares have resulted in increased costs to both riders and drivers. That’s not OK. These impacts — which will only get worse if we do not reverse course now — will cause many citizens to leave Toronto,” Kho said in the post.
Over the past month, Uber has faced fierce backlash from Toronto’s drivers, who accused the company of running the city “into the ground” by providing a “dangerous form of transportation.”
In response, Uber has been working with Toronto officials to introduce changes to its pricing formula and court challenges have been filed on behalf of the city’s drivers, arguing that Uber is “illegally” offering a taxi service in Toronto.