Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences for ride-hailing companies.
Uber Technologies Inc. is working on an update to its Uber app that’s meant to make it easier for drivers to switch from solo trips to group rides, instead of having to pay extra for having an extra person to pick them up.
But the company’s latest version of the app is also introducing some new measures designed to encourage it to stay competitive in a saturated Toronto market where Uber already has a monopoly.
The new version features an option to pay a $20 one-time fee for new memberships as an incentive to sign up for the service, according to screenshots provided by Uber Canada. The fees can be paid in either Canadian dollars or a credit card.
“It’s a bit of a way to subsidize new members,” Uber Canada said in a statement, before saying that it’s in discussions with the city about how drivers will be able to switch between new subscription plans if they have not been eligible for a ride for a couple of weeks, and that drivers will not get charged until they do make it onto the platform.
The option to pay the fees on the New Subscription page will allow drivers to switch whenever they want, but the company said it is looking into the possibility of introducing a new option in the future.
Uber Canada told the Star that the update is part of a larger effort to make itself more user-friendly, including making the app more inclusive by making it easier for people with disabilities to use the service.
The service has tried to make inroads into the city’s more difficult-to-navigate taxi market by introducing the Uber Black car service, which is now being tested in Toronto. The company raised $1.7 billion from a public listing of its shares on the public market earlier this year.
This will give Uber the ability to take a bigger role in the city’s more exclusive ride-hailing market.
The cost of a trip is still determined by the price of a fare, which is