Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences for ride-hailing services.
Uber’s Toronto office was not immediately available for comment.
Uber is facing a backlash after Toronto City Council halted new licence approvals for the company’s drivers until the public consultation process on Uber’s controversial app-based ride-hailing service ends. The consultation ended Wednesday, which has left Uber facing an additional three months of uncertainty.
“The council’s decision is a disappointing loss for the entire city, which has made some of the most successful moves in taxi and ride-hailing regulation in North America,” said Uber’s vice-president of policy and public affairs, David Plouffe.
“We will appeal the decision, but we will do everything necessary to protect consumers and keep Uber Canada’s momentum going, because it is in Toronto’s long-term interest,” he said.
Uber’s application for a licence in Canada was initially held up by City Council members in September last year when it was opposed by Uber’s partners in the bid process, which includes the taxi industry. Toronto cab companies, which operate under municipal licensing laws, are also members of the app-based ride-hailing industry and would have to abide by the new rules.
“There was a lot of uncertainty about our licensing application as I explained to the council,” said Uber’s chief executive officer Travis Kalanick.
“As a result of that uncertainty, Uber decided to suspend operations,” he said. “We had the best interests of our community at heart, and we believed that the public consultation process in Toronto was important.”
But Council voted in late January to suspend Uber’s licence, which would have allowed the company to operate in the city until a future date.
When asked Thursday about an appeal process, Kalanick said: “We have a different understanding as to what’s going on.”
“It’s clear from this decision that we think that the public consultation process, which was held during the process,