Toronto's Uber Rides Might Take Longer To Reach You & Get More Expensive Too

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Toronto's Uber Rides Might Take Longer To Reach You & Get More Expensive Too
Toronto Associate Editor

To all the Torontonians who use Uber, your next ride with them could be more expensive and take longer to reach you.

The ride-hailing service is warning its users in the 6ix of the changes that could take place after the City of Toronto decided to freeze licensing for new drivers. On November 10, city council made the call to "immediately pause the issuance of new vehicle-for-hire and private transportation company driver's licences" so that proper training could be done.

"Uber fully supports the Driver Training Accreditation program. And, for over 18 months, we've actively urged the City to accelerate its implementation," Laura Miller, the head of public policy and communications for Uber Canada told Narcity via email. "So while we are heartened to see the program finally start to take shape, we are disappointed by the Council's decision to pause licensing in the interim."

According to the City, the new Driver Training Accreditation Program would be a "training requirement [that] will aim to improve driver awareness and enhance public safety." Drivers will be tested on "transporting passengers in a safe manner; driving in an urban setting; providing accessible service; anti-racism, diversity and sensitivity; and legal requirements."

"It is deeply unfair to punish the thousands of drivers who want to earn an income and the hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who require a reliable rideshare service to help them get from point A to point B because of the City's slow action," Miller said.

According to Uber, pausing licensing cuts off a "critical safety net" for those who are out of work or are looking for another way to pay their bills.

Uber says they are committed to rider and driver safety at all stages of the ride, and since the start of the pandemic the ride-hailing company has rolled out a mandatory anti-sexual assault and misconduct training module to all of its Toronto drivers. They also provided a training program for drivers with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Why your next Uber ride will be affected

According to Uber, the freeze on new licenses could lead to longer wait times and higher fares across the city.

Surge pricing happens when there are more people requesting rides than there are drivers who can pick them up, incentivizing more drivers to get out to busy areas. These surges are instantly activated when the Uber app recognizes there's a shift in demand and driver availability.

Uber says they're deeply concerned that many Torontonians may have less access to "safe and reliable" rides home during the upcoming holiday season, especially when TTC services are reduced.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor