Following Toronto’s decision to put a moratorium on new ride-hailing companies for six months, Uber says it’s now in a position to more effectively compete.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner on Friday, Genevieve Smith, head of communications for Uber Canada, said that the Toronto decision came as a surprise, adding that the city previously had been supportive of ride-hailing.
Smith also said it was “very hard to predict” what the city’s decision will mean for consumers, calling the potential impact “fluid.”
“We will continue to review our next steps as more information becomes available,” she said.
But for now, it could mean higher prices for Toronto customers.
“We’re not going to be commenting on any numbers or potential price changes at this time,” Smith said. “But from the perspective of customers, as we’ve shared on Twitter, they may see longer wait times, more network requests, higher price points.”
In addition to increased wait times and longer wait times, Uber also says that there could be shortages in their ride-hailing fleet.
As a result, Uber will be boosting investments to update its fleet and replenish it as soon as possible, Smith said.
“We’re going to put the resources in to make sure that we do that and that’s our goal in making sure that if there are any issues, we’re able to quickly get to that,” she said.
“We have a very robust supply chain and we’re going to continue to look at, for any cities that are looking to bring ride-hailing to a broader market, areas that are underserved or areas that may have some real structural challenges and bring the resources in and have solutions to address them.”
The Toronto City Council voted Thursday to suspend new licensing for ride-hailing companies after having passed legislation that allowed for such companies to take root in the city.
Uber had hoped to take advantage of the new law, which went into effect on April 21, and launch operations in Toronto in June.
The moratorium extends Uber’s holding period until December and bans the city from issuing any new ride-hailing licences until December.
Smith said the company respects the decision of the city, but she said that Uber believes it makes more sense for the city to expand the reach of its existing taxi cab network rather than create more competition.
“The potential is tremendous for using more demand to the benefit of more consumers and more drivers, and that’s why Uber is here and that’s why people look to ride-hailing platforms to be able to match people to specific locations,” she said.
“That’s why we want to see more competition and we think that expands the reach of our current network so that we can reach more people in Toronto.”
The city was concerned about safety of passengers in ride-hailing vehicles and about driver licensing, among other things.