Uber Toronto, an on-demand private driver service that you order via your smartphone, is offering a new taxi service to its Toronto customers starting this afternoon—just in time for the Labour Day weekend.
The company has traditionally worked with black town cars, SUVs and limo drivers licensed for pick-up in the city of Toronto.
The taxi option, which will appear as a new icon within the existing Uber app, will give customers more choice by offering quality transportation options at every price point.
“We think this will help speed the evolution and efficiency of Toronto’s transit system,” says Andrew MacDonald, General Manager at Uber Toronto. “Frankly, Toronto’s overwhelmed and underfunded transit network needs all the help it can get. We’re eager, excited, and damn proud to become a bigger part of what I believe has to be a multi-pronged municipal transit solution.”
The company has already offered a similar service in Chicago and is evolving its model to be about efficiency and quality.
“While to-date we’ve been primarily a luxury service, we’ve made providing quality at all price points a priority for our business—and I’m proud that Toronto is one of the first markets we’re rolling this out in full steam,” says MacDonald.
Uber taxi users will pay the same metered fares as they would for any other Toronto cab ride. However, Uber will charge a 20% mandated service fee which will include gratuity for the driver—helping Toronto drivers (who currently earn a median income of below $15,000 per year) earn more.
“The changes we’re making to the application will work for the millions of Torontonians that take over 50,000 taxi trips a day, and help the approximately 5,000 taxis on the road in the city earn a better living,” says MacDonald. Uber will work with any licensed taxi driver in the city of Toronto.
When it comes to competing with other taxi service apps that are launching in the Toronto market, like Hailo, MacDonald says “first of all, having quality options at every price point is a huge differentiator for us. It’s for folks who want to use Uber every day, twice a day, not just on date night. They can take a taxi to work, a town car to dinner and an SUV to the Leafs game. Or ball-out in an SUV 24/7. Ultimately, this is about choice for the consumer. Second, we are focused on building a superior driver network because of our focus on improving driver economics.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the market heats up with the launch of other similar services in the city.