Uber faces lengthy wait for rides in Toronto after limit

Image copyright Eyewitness News Image caption Moulton Ward councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has hailed the city’s decision to freeze new licences

Drivers for ride-hailing company Uber could face lengthy waits for rides, drivers have said after the city of Toronto said it would freeze new licences.

The city said it needed to slow the growth of the app in order to protect motorists.

Giorgio Mammoliti, an influential Toronto councillor, claimed the rule was about “protecting the number of taxi licenses”.

Yasmin Catli, a mother of three, told Canada’s Eyewitness News that, with no new licences coming in for months, it was likely drivers would face an “economic squeeze”.

The driver, who earns twice the minimum wage for female drivers in Toronto, said she had to take time off work to look after her children and find other employment.

Image copyright Toronto Taxi Driver Association Image caption Rona Ambrose, Canada’s former health minister, told the BBC News website she hoped the system would be reformed

Toronto’s decision is similar to the one in Vancouver that was made in September – although the city was the first in Canada to start issuing Uber drivers a regular taxi licence.

Rona Ambrose, former Conservative Canada’s Health Minister, told the BBC that Uber’s methods were “undermining the entire taxi industry”.

“City governments across the country should look at what happened in Vancouver, introduce tax regulations and common sense rules to ensure we can all share the wealth,” she said.

Uber refused to speculate on how it might affect its operations, but went on to point out that thousands of drivers in Toronto earned more per hour than many taxi drivers in Vancouver.

Image copyright Eyewitness News Image caption Ex-Uber driver Joshua Unrau-Semple told Canada’s Eyewitness News that the rise of apps was bringing unfair competition to the industry

Uber also pointed out that the number of taxi licences issued in Toronto peaked in 2014 and has been falling since.

Canada’s Ridehailing Companies Association also responded, saying that rising car rental prices were limiting people’s options and also warned that people were at risk of falling into debt.

“We are one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and yet our transportation system is not keeping up with it,” Christine Cromie, president of the ridesharing companies association, said.

Ms Cromie said Uber was growing in the city while city governments “renegotiate existing rules or ignore them altogether”.

In 2012, Uber was banned from operating in Vancouver for several months because of a dispute between its drivers and taxi firms.

A year later, the California-based firm began offering its service there.

It currently operates in a number of other Canadian cities, including Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.

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