Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences for Uber’s most popular city-based black car service last week, raising questions about what impact that decision will have on drivers who have already been taking on the role of Uber drivers for several years.
Uber, which launched its City car service in Toronto last year, said it would suspend the service for drivers in Toronto and the surrounding greater Toronto area. The new service would cover a wider area, including areas such as Hamilton and Ottawa, where drivers already have contracts for existing services, but Uber said it had not received any requests from drivers for a substitute.
“We have received no requests from drivers for a substitute in the greater Toronto area,” an Uber spokesperson said by email on Wednesday evening.
City of Toronto manager Joni Volpe, in a statement to the Star, announced the decision to freeze new licences on Wednesday morning.
“It’s fair to say, without having tried the service, that there are some concerns about the new service,” Volpe said. “We understand those concerns and we have therefore decided to suspend the new service, effective immediately.”
“I expect our residents to be able to get around town without having to rely on taxis, Uber, car share services and shuttle services such as LRT and GO, if that’s what they choose to do.”
The City of Toronto said the decision would not affect existing customers and that drivers who have been holding licences will be provided with an e-mail with information about the cancellation, including a link to apply and to renew their current licences.
The decision by the City follows a similar decision by Ottawa earlier this year to take similar measures against Uber and UberX.
Toronto is not alone in taking such measures, said Nicole Roberts, founder of RoadWise, a Toronto-based technology company that provides data analysis to the car sharing industry.
“In fact, Uber is just the latest company to start freezing a product line that has been in place for quite a while,” said