Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences and cancel existing ones. Photo: AP
Toronto’s move to freeze new ride-hailing licences, and cancel those already granted, has been met with alarm as Uber and Lyft threaten to return to Toronto.
The taxi industry, which represents most of the city’s ride-hailing drivers, argues that cancelling new licences would damage the industry’s competitiveness. And it believes that the move, which followed the city’s decision to freeze new licences, risks forcing drivers to cut back on hours or leave the industry altogether.
However, the city maintains that cancellations would be an efficient way to stop Uber and Lyft, as they were unable to build adequate service in the city to meet the city’s needs. It also believes that the move will make a big difference in terms of the city’s air quality.
“That is a big opportunity for Toronto, because it means there is no need for those companies to be there,” said Toronto’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, at an event on Thursday.
“There may be some people who want them and I understand that. But there will be enough people who are happy with Uber that they will get to pick up the slack, and I believe it is a good thing for Toronto.”
The city’s decision comes after a long-running dispute between the city and ride-hailing companies. It was resolved last August, when the city cancelled licences for two of the four companies that had not yet received licences.
Toronto suspended Uber and Lyft’s operations on July 10, after the ride-hailing companies refused to pay drivers that were part of a class-action suit that the city filed last year. The city alleged that the companies failed to compensate their drivers for being forced to work for Uber and Lyft’s competitors.
Several drivers who spoke with